In a small neighborhood known as Monceau-sur-Sambre, within the Belgian town of Charleroi, sits an abandoned power station. Its magnificent cooling tower still looms over the town no longer creating electricity.
Power Plant IM was originally built in 1921. When it was finished, it was one of the largest coal burning power plants in Belgium. Water would be let into the cooling tower, where it would be cooled by the wind that swept in from portals in the base of the tower, releasing billowing columns of hot air. By 1977, the power plant and its massive tower was the main source of energy in the Charleroi area and is said to have been able to cool down 480,000 gallons of water per minute. During the 1970s, new components were even added to the power plant that could also use gas power. However, the power plant’s days in the sun were numbered.
Following years of service, a report found that Power Plant IM was responsible for 10 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in Belgium. Due to this, protests from Greenpeace in 2006 gave the power plant a lot of negative attention and it closed in 2007.
After it was closed down, there were reports of looting by metal scrappers. Today security guards are often posted on site—a fact that has not deterred many an urban explorer from investigating the cooling tower’s moss-coated innards.