Cooking Up Smart Energy Savings in Dutch Province of Zeeland

Unique collaboration between Dutch and American food producers in the Dutch delta

Dutch firm Wiskerke Onions and US company Lamb Weston/Meijer, a producer of French fries, are setting up a residual heat connection in order to achieve reductions in both energy consumption and harmful emissions.

In the group of islands that make up the Dutch delta, in Zeeland, leading food producers have put their heads together to come up with collaborative, smart energy solutions that benefit both the environment and their bottom-line.

Smart energy and materials

Smart Delta Resources (SDR) is an industrial symbiosis platform that encourages and enables energy-intensive companies in the delta region to collaborate. Through exchange of energy and materials, companies are able to improve their competitive edge and reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. SDR identifies residual material- and energy-flows generated by companies in the region, and develops business cases for the exchange and re-use of these residual products.

One of SDR’s most recent success stories is the unique collaboration between two food producers in the delta. At the Nishoek industrial estate in Kruiningen, Dutch firm Wiskerke Onions and US company Lamb Weston/Meijer, a producer of French fries, are setting up a residual heat connection in order to achieve reductions in both energy consumption and harmful emissions.

Fries and onions

The residual heat from the processes in the French-fries factory has a relatively low temperature. Lamb Weston/Meijer cannot utilize the waste heat themselves, but neighboring firm, Wiskerke Onions, is able to use it in its production process, to dry onions at a steady temperature of 25-30 degrees Celsius. The collaborative approach has the potential to reduce both companies’ consumption of natural gas by up to 500,000 mᶟ per year, with an associated reduction in annual CO₂ emissions of 875 tons.

Wiskerke Onions are to cover the bulk of the required 1.6 million-euro investment. The Province of Zeeland has awarded an 800,000-euro subsidy to the project from a previous Green Deal with the Dutch government, intended to accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy. Lamb Weston/Meijer will deliver its residual heat free-of-charge and will receive a subsidy of approximately 13,000 euro from the Province of Zeeland towards personnel and development costs. Through these subsidies, the business case for the project becomes economically viable.

Initiative and collaboration

Provincial executive, Ben de Reu (Energy) said of the project: “We are very excited for the start of this brilliant initiative and collaboration. It’s a big step in the development of a future-proof, sustainable economy here in Zeeland.” The project embodies the policy set out by the Province of Zeeland in its Economic Agenda 2017-2021 and matches its current ambitions regarding ‘circular economy and energy transition’.

De Reu concludes: “It is inspiring to be able to facilitate two leading, international agrifood companies to collaborate successfully in the area of sustainability and, hopefully, we will see more of these smart energy projects being realized here in Zeeland in the near future.”

Sources: Invest in Zeeland & Smart Delta Resources

10 March 2017

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