Climate- and Refrigeration
Technology, our specialisation

BASF Vegetable Seeds: high-tech climate rooms for innovative breeding complex

For BASF Vegetable Seeds in Nunhem, Nijssen realized 14 high-tech climate rooms and 2 seed storage rooms. Sustainability and energy efficiency are also paramount in this project. That is why Nijssen conditions the rooms with a smartly designed industrial NH3 / water installation with heat recovery.

The climate rooms are partly furnished with cultivation trolleys and partly with cultivation gutters for wire crops. High-tech LED growth lighting is used in all rooms. Trolleys and gutters can be connected to the central system for controlling the lighting and automatic irrigation with different types of feed water. The climate chambers must be capable of being cooled, heated and dried. The entire irrigation system and the CO2 injection were also installed by Nijssen. Nijssen also supplies both cold and heat for the offices from the cooling installation.

Customized solution for a very high COP value in every situation

BASF Vegetable Seeds wants to use residual heat as much as possible. However, the heat demand varies considerably during the year. To be able to combine maximum heat recovery with high energy efficiency, Nijssen engineers opted for a customized solution from industrial cooling technology. By providing the energy-efficient compressors with capacity control, the condensing pressures can be optimally adjusted for each heat demand. With this energetically optimized design, a very high COP value is achieved both at full load and at partial load.

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Warm and cold buffered

In order to be able to provide stable control of the installation, buffer vessels have been included in the design, both in the heat circuit and in the cold circuit. The 'free' residual heat from the ammonia press gases and the oil cooling is stored in the hot buffer tank. Excess heat is removed via a dry cooler.

Transcritical CO2 installation

The central cooling installation consists of an ammonia chiller. For the seed storage, a separate energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly transcritical CO2 installation has been chosen. The condenser heat from the CO2 installation is also stored in the hot water buffer tank via heat recovery.

Climate control in the rooms

The climate chambers are conditioned via air coolers in the room. Our experience is that this allows a very uniform air distribution to be achieved, and therefore a homogeneous climate. Thanks to a smart design, the air coolers can be used for cooling, heating and drying. Humidification is done via the air cooler outlet. In this way, the desired high humidity condition in the room can be achieved simply and energetically efficiently.

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Complex integration control systems

The Automation department of Nijssen also had a major role in this project. The Nijssen Control Systems are fully equipped for the complete management of indoor farming facilities. However, this new building, just like the rest of the BASF complex in Nunhem, is controlled via Priva control technology. In this project, Nijssen engineers were responsible for managing the complex interaction between central cold and heat generation in the Nijssen engine room and Priva's cell control. Under Nijssen's supervision, Priva engineered the control technology and control software for the rooms, connected the hardware and commissioned the rooms.

Further expansion planned

The selection of various components takes into account the further expansion of the installation. The overcapacity is currently being used to be able to cool off more energetically.


BASF Vegetable Seeds is part of the BASF Agricultural Solutions division. The seed breeding company is active in 24 vegetable crops and sells ~ 1,200 varieties under the brand name Nunhems.