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Safety & Compliance

Making chemical plant climate installatons more sustainable


An international chemical company has a large production site in Rotterdam. At the Rotterdam location, there are a number of continuous plants and an in-house Research & Development Lab. The factories have been in existence for several decades and, in recent years, KH Engineering has carried out several modernisation projects for the company. Until now, the company buildings, including the control room, were heated with process steam. In order to make its operations more sustainable, the company wanted to start using heat recovery, and eventually heat pumps. But how do you tackle such a project?


In order to carry out the project and all the necessary intermediate steps safely and thoroughly, the chemical company called on the combined knowledge and skills of KH Engineering and PDE. For many years, PDE has specialised in high-quality climate installations in special places, where the circumstances require that extra attention be paid to the HVAC systems. Think of a drilling rig, a floating gas production platform, the largest Ferris wheel in the world in Dubai. And therefore also a Dutch chemical plant. For this assignment, PDE worked together with KH Engineering.

They started by mapping out the necessary information on the climate systems by looking up documentation and mapping out the situation on site. This was quite a job, as some of the systems had already been installed several decades ago. Then attention shifted to making the installation suitable for the use of heat pumps. PDE did this by installing heat recovery on the main air treatments and on those of the laboratory. For example, various pipelines had to be rerouted over dozens of metres, because part of the air handling unit is located forty metres from the to be heated building. In this way, the engineering firm freed up capacity on the existing heat exchangers to cope with a lower water temperature. This was followed by the installation of the heat pumps and the adjustment of the systems to these. This way, the entire building has now been converted to a modern and “green” system.

Client benefits

The customer now has a perfectly functioning, modern, silent and much more energy-efficient climate control system that works independently of the production process and is extremely reliable. By working with KH Engineering and PDE, the customer benefited from years of experience, not only with the work requested, but also with the peculiarities of the various locations on the site.

The company received timely advice in order to be prepared for later preservation steps. Ten years ago, for example, PDE ensured that space was left in the then newly built air handling units for the heat recovery equipment that was only recently installed. For the company, it was a godsend to work with two complementary parties such as PDE and KH Engineering. The companies complement each other in the field of engineering and construction management, and together they ensured that a safe and sound climate system was installed on schedule and within budget.

The buildings now have an up-to-date climate system again and the laboratory in particular benefits from a more accurate and controllable climate, another advantage compared to the previous situation. The users experience a more pleasant, comfortable and quieter indoor climate in the buildings.

Activities of KH Engineering

KH Engineering performed the following activities for this project:

– Documentation gathering
– Basic and detailed engineering
– Piping engineering
– Request for quotation / Procurement
– Site supervision
– Civil Engineering
– Engineering works
– Project planning
– Electrical engineering
– HVAC installations
– Testing and delivery

Project/construction leaders: Fred Broeren (KH Engineering) and Jan Stoeken (PDE)

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