Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 5 (ANI/BusinessWire India): A trade mission of companies in the field of renewable energy from the Belgian industrial region of Wallonia announced future expansion of partnerships with its Indian counterparts.
India and Belgium are engaged in a dialogue on renewable energy through a Joint Working Group co-chaired by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). This year, India and Belgium are set to renew their memorandum of understanding in the field of renewable energy for another 5 years.
A delegation of the Walloon (originating from Wallonia) business cluster TWEED took part in a week-long trade mission to meet their Indian counterparts and discussed market opportunities, knowledge transfer and technological partnerships. The Walloon business cluster TWEED congregates more than two hundred stakeholders (from MNCs to SMEs, through universities and R&D centers), with the aim of fostering high quality and industrial-size projects in the fields of the production of sustainable energy.
Between 26th of September and 30th of September, the Trade Commissions of Wallonia in India programmed B2B meetings, brokerage and networking events. The delegation started the two-day program in Mumbai dedicated to meeting prospective Indian companies and large power generation groups such as Reliance or Tata, and then took part in the Renewable Energy India (REI) Expo in Delhi NCR.
Belgium was one of the first European countries to establish diplomatic relations with India in September 1947, just a month after India gained independence. In 2022, Belgium and India celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations.
During their last meeting, the two countries decided to foster collaboration in three main sectors: hydrogen, wind and energy storage. In these, Belgium has mature and disruptive projects and worldwide leaders implementing top-notch technologies, whereas India has rolled out important policies and reforms to sustain the growth of the renewable energy sector.
Both countries also support the adoption of other clean technologies. In Wallonia, Belgium's French-speaking southern region, the government supports numerous circular economy projects (e.g. with infrastructures dedicated to the recycling of PV panels or EV batteries) and the development of new technologies such as PV glass, macro-grid, CO2 capture and utilisation schemes, or power-to-gas.
In these niches, India and Wallonia have already witnessed fruitful collaborations. For example, John Cockerill (world leader in the production of alkaline electrolysers with more than a third of the global market) announced a JV in India to co-invest in an electrolyser plant. Conversely, an important Indian conglomerate is running an R&D Centre developing new mechanisms to produce grey Hydrogen in Wallonia.
Wallonia, which boasts a population of roughly a fifth of Delhi, is known to be the world's 2nd region to implement the Industrial Revolution some 150 years ago. That early innovative and pioneering spirit has remained a feature that keeps it at the forefront of engineering excellence to this day, and confers it a leadership role in a wide variety of niche sectors.
Due to its ideal location in the heart of Europe's industrial crescent, Wallonia is the perfect launching pad for Indian businesses looking to develop activities in Europe and benefit from an open innovation landscape (e.g. through the Greenwin or TWEED innovation clusters). Some have already chosen it as its base, such as PCBL, Jindal or ELGI Equipment. Beyond the logistical advantage, they often based their decision on the strong incentives Walloon authorities offer foreign investors.
The Walloon delegation boasts of several pioneering and award-winning multinational companies that have a long-standing association with India.
Along with John Cockerill (the multi-industrial group active in hydrogen, Concentrated Solar Power and other sources of energy), the delegation comprises N-Side (data handling for the management of electricity grids), CE+T (multi-awarded pioneers who develop inverters and have long-standing collaborations in India, including an investment in a research laboratory), Armacell (manufacturing of polyethylene foams for wind turbines, among other energy applications), and chemicals company Dow (expertise in technical silicones and coatings enhancing the lifespan of solar panels in PV farms), Silox (currently investing in India in a battery recycling facility for extraction of non-ferrous metals) and Solvay (world-renowned in the field of advanced materials). These are the flag-bearers of Walloon excellence.
Fabian Scuvie, Senior Energy Specialist at AWEX (Wallonia's trade & investment promotion agency), accompanied them and presented Wallonia's rich innovative ecosystems as well as a mapping of different value chains in the renewable energy sector (companies, research & academic centres, financial and governmental bodies) during two seminars in Mumbai and Delhi.
Clearly, collaborations between India and Wallonia are not opportunistic in nature but, rather, the result of mutual recognition of their respective excellence.
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