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New distribution centre Lidl provides its own energy

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New distribution centre Lidl provides its own energy

A project that complies with the BREEAM NL Outstanding certificate

Supermarket chain Lidl has a name to uphold when it comes to sustainable housing. The newest addition to the tribe is the Lidl distribution centre (DC) in Oosterhout, Gelderland, which is good for a BREEAM NL Outstanding certificate. Here are some excerpts from the piece published on, a website of RCC K&L (Refrigeration & Climate Control Koude & Luchtbehandeling). The text is by Harmen Weijer and the full article can be found via this link.

The new business park Park15, right next to the national trunk road with the same number, immediately catches the eye thanks to four wind turbines. Their presence indicates a sustainable environment, and the wind farm will soon be expanded with another four turbines. One turbine directly supplies sustainably generated electricity to the Lidl distribution centre (DC). This is still in the future, but at Lidl’s construction site, the contours of the newest distribution centre (DC) are already fully visible.

One of the largest distribution centres

“We are building a distribution centre of over 54,000 m², which makes it the largest Lidl DC in the Netherlands and one of the largest Lidl distribution centres in Europe,” says Robert Dierdorp. He is project leader of DC construction at Lidl. “The DC is also taller than any we’ve built so far. Oosterhout will be 20 metres high, which is 4.5 metres higher than what we’ve realised until now. It provides an extra layer or racking in the centre, so more storage space. And in this way, we are in line with the European standard that Lidl uses for its distribution centres. In addition, we are already taking into account the possible expansion of the southwestern part in the foundation.”

NH₃/CO₂ cascade system

The refrigeration technology in Lidl’s distribution centres has stood out for several years because of its redundancy, says Dierdorp. “The cooling must be able to continue running at all times, so there is spare capacity built in. We have been using the NH₃/CO₂ cascade system since the construction of DC Weert about 9 years ago. Now these systems have the annoying property that the two refrigerants form a large salt ball when they come together, which causes the installation to shut down. This is why we have been using a spray cooler since 2012, as this minimises risks given our construction method. This part can be repaired if necessary, and only a small amount NH₃ is concerned, which is sprayed internally on approximately 1,400 CO₂ pipes. Spray coolers are not very common in these kinds of projects in the Netherlands. Voets & Donkers Koeltechniek, which builds the system for us in Oosterhout, was not immediately familiar with the system. However, this installer is so enthusiastic about it that he is going to use this cascade system more often.”

Extra cold circuit

Unlike the distribution centre in Heerenveen, the DC in Oosterhout will have an extra cold circuit for cooling. “By default, Germany prescribed that we create a circuit for -8 °C and a circuit for -36 °C. We have chosen to also have a circuit for +4 °C here. This allows us to cool the offices and fresh produce in a more energy-efficient way, as we do not need to cool from -8 °C. And we make more efficient use of the thermal storage.” Thanks to two buffer tanks with a capacity of 10,000 litres for hot and cold water, the system can run entirely on water and glycol is no longer required. “For us, cooling comes first, so that system must always be running. If more heat is needed than is produced by the refrigeration technology, we call on the thermal storage source.”

Text: Harmen Weijer

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Voets & Donkers Warehousing

Different wishes and requirements apply to each distribution centre or warehouse in terms of temperature and (ultra-clean) air conditions. With our knowledge and experience in industrial refrigeration technology and air treatment installations, we can optimise the quality and shelf life of the stored products.

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Voets & Donkers - Duurzaamheid

Sustainability is very important in our society today. We ‘have to’ get rid of the gas, and we also try to limit our use of electricity as much as possible. At Voets & Donkers, our installations contribute to sustainability in three ways: we use natural refrigerants, we develop energy-efficient installations and we make heat recovery possible.

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