Innocent, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, is developing a carbon-neutral drinks factory in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to produce healthy drinks. The new factory, named ‘the Blender’, will produce more than 400 million bottles of juice annually.

Construction of the facility commenced in September 2020. It is expected to open in early 2021 and production is aimed at commencing in the first quarter of 2021.

Innocent is investing €223m ($250m) in the project, which will create 190 jobs.

Innocent’s carbon-neutral drinks factory location

The new factory is located at the Rotterdam Food Hub, a new 60ha business park being developed by the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the Port of Rotterdam. Innocent is the first company to develop a facility in the park.

The food hub is being developed to meet the growing demand from the agrofood sector. The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural products and the Port of Rotterdam handles 16 million tonnes of throughput annually.

The Rotterdam Food Hub will feature several berths for inland vessels apart from warehouses to store, process and transport frozen cargo quickly.

Innocent’s carbon-neutral drinks factory details

Innocent’s carbon-neutral drinks factory will be spread over an area of 30,000m². The facility is divided into three departments, including production, bottling, and storage and distribution.

The steel frame, roof and façade of the facility are designed to provide protection against environmental factors such as salty air and seawater.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art digital solutions, including active LAN and Wi-Fi networking, as well as Cloud-based solutions that will enable the management of the Wi-Fi network both on site and remotely.

The digital solutions will increase security and improve the company’s operational efficiency. It will support the company in changing its production process model of relying on various fruit producers to consolidate its operations.

Sustainable features of the new facility

Innocent is aiming for BREEAM-NL Outstanding and WELL certifications for the factory, which is designed to minimise waste and water and energy usage. WELL certification is based on the health and wellbeing of the users in the building. Innocent has included specific wellness areas within the factory to achieve the rating.

“The food hub is being developed to meet the growing demand from the agrofood sector.”

A combination of energy saving features have been incorporated into the design of the facility, including innovative heat pumps, LED lighting, efficient mechanical and processing equipment, and good insulation.

The facility will use electricity from renewable energy sources, including solar panels and two on-site wind turbines. Furthermore, 28% of the site will include green areas such as water bodies, bicycle paths, pedestrian paths and vehicles paths. Low water irrigation will be used for the green areas on the site.

By locating the juice terminal and filling facility in one site, the company will be able to reduce the number of road miles travelled by 25% or 13,000 trips on an annual basis, which translates into a carbon footprint reduction of 10%.

During construction, efforts will be made to minimise construction waste and use recyclable material wherever possible.

Contractors involved

The new factory is designed by VAN AKEN Concepts, Architecture, Engineering, a architecture firm based in the Netherlands.

Aronsohn, an engineering consultancy, is the structural engineer while Kragten, a design and management firm, is the civil engineer for the project.

Deerns, an engineering consultancy firm, is the BREEAM & WELL certification consultant.

Integrated Food projects (IFP), a project management company for the food and drink industry, was appointed as the project manager and designer for the project.

IFP contracted PMP Consultants, a project management and consultant company, as quantity surveyor for the project.

Hunter Safety Solutions, a health and safety consultancy, is the health and safety advisor and is also responsible for managing safety during the construction and installation process.

KLH Sustainability, a sustainable development consultancy, is the sustainability advisor for the project.

GEA Group, a supplier of food processing equipment, will provide processing equipment for raw material handling, including batch mixing and pasteurisation. It is also providing highly efficient cleaning-in-place (CIP), refrigeration, and automation technologies for the plant.

GEA has partnered with Fluidor to combine the latter’s FluiVac water mist technology into its CIP systems.

Atos, a digital transformation company, is providing digital solutions for the new facility. E80 and Krones are other suppliers involved in the project.