Van Oers United: new BREEAM 5* building for Brussels sprouts and green beans
For Van Oers United B.V.’s new shipping and processing centre in Dinteloord, Nijssen realised a low-energy and environmentally friendly cooling installation based on the natural coolants ammonia and CO2.
The new building is at the centre of Van Oers’ production area for French beans and Brussels sprouts. The sustainably designed building, which has been built according to BREEAM Outstanding norms, was taken into use on 1 August – right on time for the first sprout harvest in the Netherlands. “To cool and dry the harvested sprouts, six cold stores have been realised on the outside of the building,” says sprouts manager Bert van der Beek. “The sprouts are supplied in container bins of roughly 12,000 kilos, and these then enter the building cooled and dried for sorting. The French beans are handled differently. They are first washed and sorted, and then cooled in cold stores with additional air circulation.”
Expansion, efficiency and sustainability
By focusing the activities –storage, processing and packing –at this location, Van Oers has increased efficiency, and the company now has more capacity for storage and processing. The new company building at sustainably developed business park Agro & Foodcluster Nieuw Prinsenland includes a distribution centre of 11,000 m2 with a production hall, cold stores, a barrel storage of 1,350 m2 and an office of 1,300 m2.
Processing import flows
The location is logistically very central, according to Bert: “With its position near the A4 motorway, we have an excellent connection to the ports in Rotterdam and Antwerp at our disposal. After all, we rely on import for a large part of the year. That’s when we receive harvest from our own production locations in Morocco and Senegal. This is supplied per sea container. Because of the broad temperature range, all cold stores are suitable for handling these import flows. Moreover, three rooms are equipped with humidifiers, which are needed to make the storage of, for example, cauliflower or spring onions as optimal as possible.”
Better control of atmospheric humidity
All rooms are conditioned using the ammonia/CO2 installation. The primary coolant ammonia cools a large amount of CO2, which is used to condition cold stores, processing and shipping rooms. The natural coolants result in a better return, and they enable a better control of the atmospheric humidity. For robustness and reliability, the company chose a spray cooler. The cooling installation has to supply full capacity only rarely. That’s why compressors were selected that also achieve a favourable COP value in partial load. Additional cost saving was realised by applying an economiser. This ensures a roughly 8% lower energy use of the installation.
Maximally reusing residual heat
Heat that is released is stored in a buffer tank and maximally reused within the distribution centre, for heating the office space, thawing the air coolers, drying storage and heating up cold stores, for example.
The installation is driven by the Nijssen Control system, which has a user-friendly visualisation. The weather dependent and capacity dependent dynamic control guarantees additional energy savings. Besides, control is coupled to the building management system.
To guarantee the food safety of the products, HACCP, BRC and IFS norms have to be met. This was taken into account in the choice of materials, location and finishing of installation and piping.
Bert van der Beek looks back on the building process with satisfaction. “In January, the construction site was still empty, so all parties involved have done an excellent job. Without this good cooperation and rapport with all construction partners, such a quick realisation wouldn’t have been possible. Despite the bad weather in the winter months, the project was delivered right on time.”
Van Oers United BV, part of French cooperation Agrial since 2015, is a supplier and producer of fresh vegetables. They’ve been active on the European market and on other markets for decades.
Completion: July 2018