Smart cooling system for pharmaceutical processes

Bloodbank’s pharmaceutical processes cooled with cold from drink water infrastructure.

For more results, click here or check our final interactive booklet !


Capture d’écran 2016-09-07 à 11.07.35


Location : Amsterdam

Project team :  Sanquin, Waternet

Replication : interesting for other neighbourhoods since the basic concept is the usage of seasonal cold and abundant heat

Contacts : F. Kossen (on LinkedIn),

The project

City-zen partners blood bank Sanquin and water company Waternet join efforts to use cold from drink water infrastructure for cooling.

During cold periods in winter the temperature of drinking water drops lower than desired. This creates an abundance of cold energy which can be extracted and either used directly in Sanquin’s pharmaceutical processes or stored in an underground storage facility (a so-called aquifer thermal energy storage: ATES).

The result

The annual energy yield for the first years is expected to be 20.000 gigajoule, which equals the annual power consumption of about 1.800 households. In the future this will grow towards 40.000 gigajoule a year. Sanquin will initially only use the extracted cold for its pharmaceutical processes but is  looking into expanding the smart cooling system to more of its operations and buildings.

Additional benefit

As a result of the cold extraction the temperature in the drinking water infrastructure rises slightly which means end-users need less energy to heat water. Win-win.

VIDEO: This animation shows the cooling system of Sanquin and Waternet. The system has been realized in the context of the City-zen project. An innovative cooling system has been realized which allows both Sanquin and the end-users of the drinking water to benefit from it. The project is subsidized by the European Commission by participating in the City-zen project, a consortium of multiple partners who realize innovative demonstration projects.


Interested to know more about this project? Read all about it here or contact one of the involved partners.


  1. Project was featured on Wired in december 2016: How chilling! Amsterdam is using its underground water supply to cool its bloodbank
  2. Dutch read about cold harvested from drinking water, first time worldwide, now in Amsterdam, December 2017 (article in Dutch)
  3. Read the full article by Pien Esmeijer, Business and Innovation student at the VU University in Amsterdam, on the occasion of her graduate internship and thesis: “Implementation of a sustainable cooling system succeeded through social factors”



  • The Project

    A city operating entirely on clean energy. In theory, it's possible. But in real life? How to integrate new solutions in existing buildings, systems and people's lives? What are the technical, economic or social barriers? And how to overcome these? That's what we've learned by doing in 20 projects in Grenoble and Amsterdam.

  • Our Activities

  • Achieved Impacts

    • 20 innovations in Grenoble & Amsterdam
    • 35,000 tonnes CO2 saved per year
    • 76,000 m² renovated residential buildings
    • 10,000 dwellings connected to a Smart Grid