Groundbreaking work to decarbonise the food sector at SmartParc SEGRO Derby recognised for prestigious award

Photo of SmartParc's Energy Centre

> Veolia and SmartParc will be attending the Decentralised Energy Awards where they are shortlisted in the Energy Efficiency category for their innovative heating and cooling network that recovers energy from the food manufacturing process and reduces carbon. 

For a Sustainable Food Future

Food production accounts for 26% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and whilst agriculture contributes significantly to this, emissions are created throughout the entire food cycle.

Decarbonising the food sector is therefore an imperative to ensure a future in which food production can sustain global populations.

SmartParc is a global initiative that brings together food manufacturers to build such a sustainable and resilient food industry. This collaborative ethos is part of their wider mission to connect emerging food entrepreneurs with some of the food industry’s biggest producers and, in Derby, they can grow their expertise in sustainable food production together, guided by the in-house Food Manufacturing Innovation & Technology Centre for Excellence. 

SmartParc’s Innovative Solutions

Freons or hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) are the most common refrigerant gases and along with the burning of fossil fuels for heat, the heating and cooling requirements integral to food manufacturing contribute significantly to the sector’s carbon footprint. As a key part of SmartParc’s energy strategy, an alternative and bespoke solution to this was sought. 

In July 2023, Veolia completed the installation of a 9.8km district heating and cooling network that supplies the 155-acre site with low-carbon energy. Alongside this, we now operate the energy centre consisting of ammonia refrigeration, heat pumps, the associated High Voltage network and provide full metering, billing and customer care services to the tenants.

The district cooling infrastructure uses ammonia - a natural refrigerant - to deliver 11 Megawatts of cooling duty at -6°C across the park. Between 2024 and 2030, the system is anticipated to provide an annual CO₂e saving of circa 27,000 tons compared with an equivalent R404a industrial refrigeration system. This is thanks to the reduced global warming potential of ammonia refrigerant and its improved cooling efficiency over synthetic refrigerants.

By capturing refrigeration waste heat, the heating network will deliver a further CO₂e saving of 3,500 tonnes per year, compared to gas boilers.

Award Recognition

The Association for Decentralised Energy advocates on behalf of the industrial, commercial and public sectors to drive decarbonisation in heating solutions to help the UK achieve net zero by 2050.

Decentralised energy is energy based at or near the user and the solutions delivered are to be tailored to the customer’s needs. Our ongoing work with SmartParc is helping to maintain these solutions and securing further energy efficiencies to drive down carbon consumption on site.

Along with the other nominees celebrated for their inspiring retrofitting, solar and energy storage system initiatives, Veolia and SmartParc will head to Westminster on 12th June to find out who the winners are.

John Abraham, Chief Operating Officer -  Industrial, Water & Energy for UK, Ireland and Nordics

John Abraham, Chief Operating Officer -  Industrial, Water & Energy for UK, Ireland and Nordics

Bolstering local energy initiatives is one of three focus areas for Veolia within our Green Up 2024-7 strategic program and it is essential that we continue to work with our customers to find the right solutions to help them on their net zero journeys and to deliver ecological transformation. Our collaborative efforts at SmartParc are one of our greatest examples of innovation towards this goal and it’s an honour to be recognised by the DEA for our work here.


Phil Lovell

Phil Lovell, Chief Operating Officer for SmartParc

We’ve got a great opportunity in the UK to be at the forefront of the development of food manufacturing to ensure global food security. It will take a combined effort from big and small manufacturers working in partnership with solutions providers like Veolia to ensure we decarbonise along this journey.