On the way to a greener factory

On the way to a greener factory

“Technology for sustainable energy transition is developing rapidly, but its implementation takes time”, says Ruud Vleugels, Commercial Director ENGIE Services Zuidoost. Together with BOM Renewable Energy, ENGIE is responsible for the supply of energy, compressed air, vacuum or other facilities that companies on the Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) need. BIC Utility, as the collaboration is called, wants to do this as green as possible. With a roof full of solar panels, sustainable installations and the lack of a gas connection, this is already quite successful. “We can wait until a new technology has proven itself, but we should look first at what is already possible.

Not everything is technique. According to Wings, this is also about the effective use of energy. Reuse of residual heat, for example. Wings: “Currently, most heat disappears through the chimney. But you can capture that heat by all kinds of techniques and tools and use it again to heat other rooms. Or companies can use it in their production process.” According to Vleugels, however, that only makes sense if little energy is wasted. “We can go further towards sustainability, but if companies don’t use energy efficiently, that’s a shame. Most of the time, the solution does not lie in new technology.”

Helping companies

That is why BIC Utility visits every company on campus to see how they can use their energy more economically. “How do they work? How do they use their facilities, and can we help them do this better? Only when that is in order, do we see if they have residual heat leftover. This can then be shared with other companies on campus,” Vleugels explains. The intention is for BIC Utility to start using this in early 2020, then there will be more companies in the building, and there will be a good picture of what different companies consume and possibly still need.

Renewable energy sources

During the design of the campus, Vleugels already thought about the sustainability of the building: “You use the latest technologies in the field of insulation, for example. A lot of glass has been used in this building, which must meet certain requirements so that not too much heat escapes. In this way, you can check the entire ‘shell’. Then you make sure that you make as much use as possible of sustainable energy sources. Electricity comes from the solar panels on the roof, which supply 2.1 MW. That’s not enough when the campus will soon be full, so we’ll buy the shortfall in the form of green electricity. We use a heat-and-cold system to heat and cool the building.”

No gas. According to Vleugels, many people had their doubts whether a huge factory hall could be heated with such a heat-and-cold system: “The result makes me proud. Because it was a bit exciting; this shows that it can be done.” Vleugels continues: “But that’s not all. The campus is not connected to the gas network. We are a forerunner and show that we don’t want to be dependent on fossil fuel. In this respect, the cooperation with the campus and BOM Renewable Energy is very important. Both parties dare to think ahead, and they are not anticipating, but take decisions and then act. The lack of a gas network is a good example of this.”