News of Voets & Donkers
22 June, 2020
18 June, 2020
10 January, 2020
09 January, 2020

Albert Heijn’s new Shared Fresh Center (SFC) in Nieuwegein

11 December, 2015

At Voets & Donkers we are part of many different projects within our field of expertise: the cooling and air treatment industry. From the farmer who needs a single coldroom to the multinational with a large distribution center. And once in a while there is a project which you don’t see very often; the new ‘Shared Fresh Center’ of Albert Heijn in Nieuwegein is such a project. It is new and innovative but first and foremost; it is large. It has a 42.000 m2 floor surface which makes it one of the largest fresh distribution centers in the Netherlands. It was a hell of a job for Voets & Donkers, but a job which we, needless to say, took up with great pleasure.

Innovative design

Commissioned by Pleijsier Bouw in January 2014, we started working on a solution to maintain the temperature in the Shared Fresh Center between 0 and 2 degrees. Considering the gigantic daily handling in the distribution center, this is not an easy task. With people working, forklifts riding around and docking trucks there are many factors that constantly threaten to disrupt the air conditions. On top of that, the plenum space turned out to be very limited therefore we could not install our average coolers. Our engineers decided to turn things around and came up with a design in which a larger amount of coolers with extremely low build-height were placed. Because of this innovative design we were awarded the contract in December 2014. However: it was not only the design that had been decisive. The fact that our corporate vision and philosophy matched that of our client’s, Pleijsier Bouw, also contributed to their decision to choose us. The implementation took place within 4 months.

Everything in 3D

During project preparations communication and cooperation with other parties played an important role. This was important due to the many different parties working on the roof surface. Drainage, illumination, sprinklers; it all had to fit in. We took the lead in this issue and designed a 3D model. Together with our partners Pleijsier Bouw, Van Dalen Installatietechniek, Kemkens Brandbeveiliging en ND Logistics we carefully thought through every aspect of the design. This led to a smooth execution of the various installations. “What otherwise would have become a disaster, now went well” says Managing Director Marc Voets. “It was our pleasure to work with the other parties.”


Besides effective, the refrigeration needed to be efficient and (therefore) sustainable. We were able to realise this by using EC-ventilators regulated by variable speed. They can be adapted to the actual need, depending on the seasons, which will lead to a substantial energy reduction. We placed over 1000 units. Furthermore, the installation only uses natural refrigerants. We chose to use the energy- efficient, natural refrigerant ammonia in combination with Temper (a salt solution). The scale of the project, the close cooperation with other parties and the sustainable solution we offered are not the only reasons we are quite proud of this project. At a certain point, we had to mobilise almost the entire company in order to turn this project into a success. “That was a positive experience” says Marc Voets. “We now know that everyone within the company is 100% committed to realise such a project”.

Numbers and figures:

Surface: 40.000 m3
Temperature: 0-2 0C
Refrigerant: Ammonia 2*500 kg
Refrigerant: Temper -20
Cooling capacity: 2.8 MW
Drive power: 4 * 250 KW Frequency controlled
Pump capacity: 3 * 75 kW Frequency controlled / 50 % redundancy
Number of refrigerators: 201
Ventilators: 1042 DC motors(EC) regulated by variable speed

See related solutions to this blog post: