ET.20.007 – Cold stores as enablers of the energy transition

Route: Energy transition

Cluster question: 026 How can we store, convert, and transport energy efficiently?

Refrigerated storage of food products is globally indispensable for food security and food safety. Many countries invest in the energy transition, but it is a typical Dutch duty to invest in knowledge to convert food cold stores to energy transition enablers. The reason is that The Netherlands has a relatively large capacity of cold stores compared to other European countries due to the importance of the Dutch agricultural production and due to presence of the port of Rotterdam as a main port for Europe. Traditionally cold stores draw electricity from the power grid when there is cooling demand. To support the energy transition route as described in the Dutch Research Agenda, the cold stores’ energy management must be revised. In this research project we develop new technologies to make cold stores enablers of the energy transition: 1. sorption-based cooling processes to exploit solar radiation on cold store roofs for refrigeration more efficiently than by just installing PV panels, and extend these thermally driven sorption-based processes with zero loss energy storage systems (in e.g. NH3 stored in salts), 2. the exploitation of cold rooms as thermal energy buffers, 3. a novel generation polyethylene glycol based composite phase change materials with phase transition at the desired temperature (-20 to 5 °C) and high energy density cold storage and favourable melting/solidification characteristics, 4. advanced ICT controls to optimize the exploitation of the different energy buffers in smart grids. The multiple energy buffers enable the adjustment of cold stores’ energy demand to energy supply. We develop a deeper fundamental understanding by employing an in-house developed CFD-DEM approach (computational fluid dynamics (CFD)+ Discrete Element Method (DEM)) in which the interaction between NH3 and salt particles will be modelled and optimized. We will take first steps toward innovative prototypes for establishing the new energy solutions.


chemical energy storage, NH3 sorption, thermal energy storage, thermally driven sorption systems

Other organisations

Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), Universiteit Twente (UT)


Organisation Wageningen Food & Biobased Research
Name Dr. ir. L.J.S. (Leo) Lukasse