The system's supplier is AGPO BV of Breda, which works closely with the Dutch manufacturer of solar energy systems, ZEN. Novem helped put this solar energy system into operation at Van Melle.
Due to the magnitude
of the project, a number of specific solutions had to be found and implemented. For instance, the closed return flow principle was chosen for the AGPO/ZEN system. This allows the water to flow back from the collector into a
reservoir if there is a risk of overheating or freezing. The advantages of this principle, which is already well-known in housing construction, can now also be used on a large enough scale to be useful for industrial purposes. The
system is the largest in the world to feature this principle.
Two hundred and twenty-eight collectors were installed, with a total surface area of 2,400 m2. The largest standard modules of the AGPO/ZEN range were employed.
The collected energy heats 125,000 litres of tap water daily, satisfying about 45% of the company's hot water requirements. The water is used in the production process and for cleaning and rinsing machines and production rooms. The
annual saving on natural gas will amount to about 170,000 m3. The capacity of the collector field can reach 2 MW on a sunny day, and the storage capacity is 95,000 litres, sufficient to store a whole day's solar energy. Around
5,000 litres of the stored hot water are used for the return flow principle.