Heated water pipeline: partnership with Volvo

Project Description

In November 2016, Stora Enso and Volvo Cars opened a 4 km pipeline between their manufacturing sites in Gent, Belgium. The pipeline takes hot water heated using renewable energy from Stora Enso’s paper mill to the Volvo plant, where it is used to heat buildings and paint booths. While the mill is constantly seeking opportunities to improve its efficiency, this partnership is unique involving companies from different sectors and value chains. The project was supported with an ecology subsidy of €2 million by the Flemish Government.

Project Purpose

Long-term sustainable development and combatting global warming requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. Innovative business partnerships like this can be a powerful source of advocacy, setting the course for a carbon neutral economy and unlocking potential green growth. Stora Enso has committed to reducing the company’s use of fossil fuels to as close to zero as is technically and commercially feasible over the next 10 years. The cooperation with Volvo Cars is a good example of the collaborative efforts Stora Enso is making to achieve its targets. The Volvo Car Group has an ambition to be among the leaders in climate neutral operations and energy efficiency, and this project takes the company a significant step closer to its goal – reducing its European-wide CO2 emissions by 24%.

Project Evaluation

Thanks to the pipeline, Volvo Cars uses substantially lower amounts of fossil fuels for heating. The project will lead to emission reductions estimated at 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, cutting the Gent plant’s total CO2 emissions by more than 40%. For Stora Enso, the pipeline offers increased energy efficiency, which benefits the environment as well as increases the use of the mill´s assets. There is great replication potential for similar partnerships. However, as was the case in this project, upfront capital investments can be high. Public sector subsidies and incentives that help reduce the initial financial burden are therefore key to replication. Replication may be enhanced by, for example, schedule incentives in the permitting process.

Chris De Hollander

Managing Director of Langerbrugge mill

“The construction of a system of industrial district heating outside our premises and the delivery of external renewable energy to Volvo Car Gent leads to increased energy efficiency, which is beneficial to the environment and increases the use of our resources. Our power plants produce combined heat and power, currently providing all of the heat and more than 70% of the electricity to meet our mill’s needs. With rising energy costs, this is a great asset for us. We can now deliver green heat to Volvo as well.”

Main Features:

CO2 Emissions saved (tCO2)

15 000 tonnes of CO2 per year, cutting the Gent plant’s total CO2 emissions by more than 40%


Volvo Car Gent, Stora Enso, Flemish Government