Suiker Unie strives to use its own sites as efficiently as possible for its activities. Expectations for the future are naturally also considered, such as expansion of existing activities, new activities, dual use of space for the production of renewable energy, and even the possibility of serving as a site for cooperation partners.
This can sometimes lead to the need to amend environmental permits or change zoning plans to support existing activities, or even sale to a party or parties that are better able to develop or use such a site. Suiker Unie is developing the locations of the existing sugar factories in Dinteloord (Nieuw Prinsenland) and Groningen (adjacent to Westpoort), selling parts of the sites of former sugar factories in Roosendaal and Puttershoek, and selling a building that was part of its agricultural institute in Bergen op Zoom.
Agro and Food Cluster Nieuw Prinsenland
The Agro and Food Cluster (AFC) Nieuw Prinsenland in Dinteloord is a joint initiative of Suiker Unie and the TOM (Horticulture Development Company). Alongside the existing sugar factory, an industrial estate with a gross area of 70 hectares for companies in the agriculture and food sector and a greenhouse horticulture site with a gross area of around 280 hectares for large-scale greenhouse horticulture companies have been developed here. The aim of this clustering is to expand opportunities for sustainability through symbiosis and cooperation between companies. Four companies have already set up operations at the site. Lots ranging in size from two to ten hectares are still available for purchase. The permitted building height is 40 metres. Cosun has also moved its Innovation Centre and agricultural institute to this location. A business incubation centre has also been built, to facilitate the development of demonstration plants and the needs of smaller start-ups and scale-ups in spaces ranging from 500 to 1000 m2.
The first examples of the intended symbiosis and cooperation are:
The water factory of the greenhouse horticulturists, which further purifies purified process water from the sugar factory for use as irrigation water. Even the sugar factory uses this extra-purified water for its boilers. The extra-purified water is stored in natural underground reservoirs.
On the site of the sugar factory, the installation of four 3.2 MWe wind turbines was made possible in a cluster of twelve in total. Pure Energie built these wind turbines, operates them, and supplies the generated renewable energy to the new 150 kV substation.
Work is underway on a residual heat network. The intention is for market gardeners to be able to use residual heat from the sugar factory and other local companies.
The industrial estate and the greenhouse horticulture site each have their own business association, which facilitate cooperation between established parties, among other things.
An entirely new zoning plan was drawn up for redevelopment of the site of the former sugar factory and adopted at the end of 2018. The aim of this zoning plan is to allow redevelopment into a waterfront industrial estate, with a harbour and quays, for companies in higher environmental categories. As part of this redevelopment, a cluster of solar parks with a net area of 17.6 hectares and a peak capacity of almost 22 MWe is now being developed. The civil engineering work for these solar parks has already begun, and they are expected to come online in mid-2021. One of these solar parks will make Suiker Unie's speciality factory energy neutral.