Veolia backs low-carbon heating and cooling network at UK food production site

An innovative low-carbon energy network, developed in collaboration with SmartParc and supported by Veolia, is poised to reduce carbon emissions by 30,000 tons annually for food manufacturing at the flagship SmartParc location near Derby. This site, which houses the UK’s first low-carbon food manufacturing community spanning 186,000 m2 (2 million square feet), will employ cutting-edge technologies to fulfil the crucial heating and cooling requirements of food manufacturers while ensuring future sustainability for the industry.

Most food manufacturers have a requirement for both heating and cooling to support their storage, processing, space heating, and hygiene activities, and SmartParc’s energy sharing infrastructure aims to utilise wind and solar initially, combined with central services, to deliver sustainable food production. To support this aim the scheme incorporates industrial ammonia chillers and heat pumps, and the resultant energy will be supplied through a 9.8km district cooling infrastructure. This is designed to deliver a diversified cold glycol cooling duty of 11MW at -6°C and, by capturing the waste heat from the refrigeration plant, will provide hot water capability of up to 10MW at 72°C across the park.

The cooling system is anticipated to provide an annual CO2e saving of around 27,000 tonnes between 2024 and 2030. By capturing process heat, the heating network will deliver a further CO2e saving of 3,500 tonnes per year, with potential to double this, when compared to gas boilers. A further environmental benefit comes from the use of ammonia refrigerant in the network, which has a zero global warming potential compared to equivalent synthetic hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant systems.

Veolia designed the pipe network, and will operate the entire heating, cooling and high voltage distribution across the 155-acre site on behalf of SmartParc, including managing metring and billing, and provide 24/7 year-round engineering support.

Commenting on this latest project, John Abraham, Chief Operating Officer – Industrial, Water & Energy for UK, Ireland and Nordics said:

” Reducing the carbon footprint of food production is of key importance as we advance to net zero. By collaborating with food manufacturers we can identify and implement new innovative solutions that both support essential food production, and deliver major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Veolia’s work on this new state of the art site highlights what can be achieved today, takes another significant step towards achieving ecological transformation, and helps further protect the environment for future generations.”

Phil Lovell, Chief Operating Officer, Europe for SmartParc, said

“We are excited to be delivering this pioneering energy solution at SmartParc SEGRO Derby, which is the first of its kind in the food industry. The heating and cooling network is a critical part of SmartParc’s sustainable, collaborative model for food production. The pipe network and energy centre we have completed will benefit all tenants on the Park, ensuring significant carbon reductions and cost savings. We’re delighted to be supported by Veolia on this project.”

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