New energy supply for FrieslandCampina Veghel

18 January 2019

Six bundles of three cables as thick as a fist and with a total length of 54 kilometres in the ground; The FrieslandCampina Ingredients location in Veghel (NL) has a new, sustainable energy supply that is fed by green electricity. The new energy supply reduces the CO2 emission of the location in Veghel by 20 percent.

Sustainable chain

“We are constantly working on making our production processes more sustainable,” Ad Snoeijen, Energy Officer at FrieslandCampina Veghel, tells us. “We annually process 1.5 billion kg milk and 1 billion kg milk equivalent of cheese whey here. The processing, evaporating and drying of this amount of milk and whey demand a lot of energy. With this new energy supply we take a major step towards making our chain more sustainable. This is one of the strategic objectives of FrieslandCampina: lead with sustainability.”

Stop gas turbines

Until recently, FrieslandCampina in Veghel generated electricity and steam using gas turbines by means of so-called cogeneration. “This was really modern in 1980 and it has always worked in a very reliable way,” according to Noud Langenberg, Unit Leader Utilities. “However, in 2015, the demand for steam dropped as a result of sustainable investments and we had an overcapacity in cogeneration. In view of the decreasing efficiency, too high NOx (nitrogen) emissions, costs for major maintenance and future growth it was about time to start looking for a new, sustainable energy supply.”

Puzzle

This supply became a fact. Ask John Klerkx, Engineering Procurement and Construction Manager. “We have a new power connection to the high-voltage station in Eerde (NL) of energy supplier Enexis. This provides us with green wind or solar energy. An 18-fold cable was routed over a distance of 3.5 kilometres to this plant. It was an enormous puzzle to find a proper route. Through lands of farmers, beneath the canal and beneath the motorway at a depth of 27 metres. While working, we came across still unexploded grenades from World War II, archaeological finds and much more.”

Second phase

The power cables end in the Koppel Inkoop Station (KIS) [transformer substation] at the plant site in Veghel. Ad: “At this moment, we still have a capacity of 21 megawatts. The second phase will become operational in May next year and then we will double our capacity to 42 megawatts. This can be compared with the electricity for 42,000 households. The Veghel site is expected to grow in the coming years and the energy supply was designed for this. We are happy that we have been able to take this step. It is a sustainable investment for the future.”