Colruyt Group CEO Jef Colruyt awarded the first Joule Prize for Renewable Energy by Organisation for Renewable Energy

Halle, Belgium, 2016-Oct-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Colruyt Group CEO Jef Colruyt received the first Joule Prize for Renewable Energy from Flemish Energy Minister Bart Tommelein at the Flemish Parliament. The prize was presented by the Organisation for Renewable Energy (ODE), the sector federation for renewable energy in Flanders. The ODE awards the prize to reward an individual, organisation, authority or company for having made a difference with actual realisations in the field of renewable energy in Flanders between 2011 and 2016.

The ODE jury unanimously selected the winner from a list of strong candidates and calls Colruyt Group “a positive trendsetter who opens up new horizons for the whole business world in Flanders. What makes them special is and remains the intensive day-to-day care for energy.”

CEO Jef Colruyt accepts the prize as a recognition of the group’s many years’ pursuit of a more sustainable environment. “Caring for base materials and energy has always been in our genes. In 1999, it was a logical step to build a first wind turbine next to our distribution centre in Halle. Today we have the deep-rooted conviction that renewable energy is the future and we want to be a pioneer in the fight against global warming. We are determined to reduce our relative greenhouse gas emission by 20 % as compared with 2008, by 2020.”

Transition to a more sustainable energy supply
Over the past 5 years, Colruyt Group has considerably raised its investments in a more sustainable energy supply. At the end of 2016, the internal energy producer and supplier Eoly expanded its wind park to 11 turbines, producing 50,000 megawatt hours per year. This corresponds with the annual consumption of 18,000 households and a CO2 reduction of 14,500 tonnes. The energy expert recently obtained permits for 3 new wind turbines and keeps investing in renewable energy using the sun, cogeneration and biomass. Eoly’s green power production already covers a quarter of the group’s energy needs; in time this should become 100 %. At the beginning of this year, the Eoly Cooperation was founded, thus allowing private persons to invest in future onshore wind farms.

Ever since 2012, Colruyt Group has been pioneering with the production of green hydrogen, generated from wind and sun. This year the group doubled the capacity of its hydrogen station and started to use 200 new fuel cells for hydrogen-powered forklift trucks. The group is also testing hydrogen as a temporary storage buffer for superfluous green power, in an effort to gear supply and demand to each other.

Finally, through the Parkwind holding Colruyt Group participates in the operational offshore wind farms Belwind and Northwind and in the future Nobelwind.

With its investments in a more sustainable energy supply, Colruyt Group contributes to the realisation of the following Sustainable Development goals of the United Nations: (7) Affordable and clean energy, (13) Climate action.

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Patti Verdoodt
+32 (0)2 363 55 45
+32 (0)473 92 45 10

Source: Colruyt Group

Colruyt Group opens new hydrogen plant

Halle, Belgium, 2016-Mar-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Colruyt Group officially opens the new hydrogen plant within the framework of the “Don Quichote*” project. Located on the Dassenveld site in Hal, where the group has a distribution centre, this plant has the aim of demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility of a hydrogen storage and transport system for green electricity, produced from wind farms and solar panels. The system is tested on tangible applications specific to logistics but also relating to mobility and global management of energy resources. “Through this initiative, the group is seeking to participate in the development of a hydrogen market. With our partners, we believe in the establishment of a clean system drawing on renewable energy sources”, explains Jef Colruyt, CEO of Colruyt Group. “With this project, it’s a matter of convincing all the stakeholders of the opportunities offered by hydrogen as an energy vector. Because only a generalised choice will overcome the final barriers that still need to be conquered.” The project is supported by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), which is a public/private partnership established by the European Commission, industries specialising in hydrogen and the world of research.

A 100% clean energy vector

Hydrogen, as an energy vector, seems to be the most suitable alternative to fossil fuels. Upstream, thanks to the electrolysis process – voltage diffusion either in water or air – it is possible to generate “green” hydrogen from a renewable energy source, such as wind or solar. Downstream, its combustion releases only water vapour and does not cause any greenhouse gas emissions.

Storing renewable energies
In 2012, during the first hydrogen test within the context of the European Interreg IV project, Colruyt Group hosted the first hydrogen plant, in collaboration with WaterstofNet and Hydrogenics. Supplied by a wind turbine and solar panels, the intention was to test certain logistical applications equipped with a fuel cell.

The plant linked to the “Don Quichote” project has been joined to the existing installation. It will allow for the testing of the PEM electrolyser compared to the initial alkaline electrolyser, as well as doubling its production capacity. The station is also equipped with a 120 kW fuel cell, capable of reconverting hydrogen into electricity.

Concrete applications
In terms of logistics, the plant can supply automotive equipment equipped with a fuel cell. To date, Colruyt Group has 11 pallet trucks equipped with such technology. The group will expand the fleet with 200 additional fuel cells in 2016.

In terms of mobility, the station supplies the Hyundai i35, tested for the last year by staff within the group. Additionally, DATS 24, the fuel supplier for the group and CNG pioneer in Belgium, is keeping a close eye on developments, so that it can be ready for the presumed future transition from CNG to hydrogen.

“Our experiences with the hydrogen vehicle, in combination with  DATS 24’s experience gained from the expansion of the CNG network, confirm our ambition to further invest in this technology and the required infrastructure”, adds Jef Colruyt.

Finally, in terms of energy, hydrogen seems to be a reliable method for managing the electricity requirements of the site. The surplus produced by the wind turbines or solar panels is stored as hydrogen rather than fed into the network. This hydrogen can then be reconverted into electricity on days with low energy production rates. This is what is known as an “energy buffer” method.

Sustainability is in the Group’s genes
Sustainable entrepreneurship is in the genes of the Colruyt Group. It represents an integral part of the group’s culture, which can be seen in the goal of creating sustainable added value on the basis of its values and expertise in distribution. “It initially represents an economic boost, it’s about creating positive dynamics for the company and the environment”, explains Jef Colruyt. “It is for this reason that the group is investing further and will continue to do so in renewable energies, which will eventually make it possible to achieve a greater independence from fossil fuels and offer a solution to the resulting climatic and geopolitical problems. ” This is also the goal of Eoly, the producer and supplier of green energy within the group.

Hanne Poppe
+32 (0)2 363 55 45
+32 (0)473 92 45 10



Colruyt Group opens new hydrogen plant

Colruyt Group opens new hydrogen plant