International Milling Directory member, Geelen Counterflow is now a major solar-power producer of electricity for production of coolers and dryers.
A major solar array of over 600 solar panels on the roofs of Geelen Counterflow’s plant in Haelen, Netherlands, was commissioned at the end of October 2013. Every year over 125.000 kWh of clean electricity will be generated for laser‐cutting and welding of stainless steel components for the company’s dryers and coolers.
The investment is part of “project 50/50” which targets a 50% reduction of the company’s CO2 footprint in 2020, compared to 2012 and an increase of 50% in the amount of CO2 reductions the company achieves for its customers by installing more efficient dryers and coolers. The company’s own CO2 footprint measures the exhaust of CO2 that follows from all company processes, from manufacturing and internal transport to heating, electricity and business travel.
Managing Director Sander Geelen said:
“As a manufacturer of counter-flow dryers and coolers we always try to improve the energy balance of our customer’s manufacturing processes. But for the energy balance of the earth, the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases causes more and more solar heat to be trapped inside our atmosphere, so land and oceans become ever warmer on average. It’s like putting on warmer and warmer sweaters when you are already warm enough. There is fast growing scientific evidence that we cannot go on like this. Rather than argue about details, we’d better start solving the problem. Sooner or later the investment will pay off. The investment in solar panels is only one step towards the target of 50% reduction of CO2 footprint for the company.
There are many things that companies can do with little investment, that save both CO2 and money. For example, timers on heating systems, double-sided printing, movement sensors on lighting etc. But even for bigger investments like efficient company cars, bikes for employees, more efficient computers, LED lighting, electric forklifts, improved insulation and solar panels, we always conclude that what is good for the environment is also good for our employees and eventually for our bottom line.”
Geelen Counterflow (85 employees) develops and builds energy‐efficient counterflow dryers and coolers for the feed and food industries. Over 80% is exported outside of Western Europe, with the help of sales and service offices in the US, Argentina and China. The company is currently preparing for the construction of a zero‐energy‐office for up to 50 office staff, to be built in 2014 according to “cradle to cradle” eco‐friendly design principles, using sustainable building materials.