Daikin is planning a cutting-edge development complex in Ghent

Date: 07 December 2020
Daikin is planning a cutting-edge development complex in Ghent
Daikin Europe N.V. (DENV), the European subsidiary of Daikin Industries Ltd., and leader in the field of climate solutions, has chosen Ghent as its new location for the EMEA Development Center (EDC).

The current EDC headquarters in Ostend and the branch in Ghent are slowly starting to burst at the seams. The EU is one of the pioneers with regard to climate-neutral initiatives, not least through its EU Green Deal policy (for the acceleration of decarbonisation). It’s precisely in this area that the EDC plays a unique role, through its research into and development of innovative, energy-efficient alternatives to traditional heating solutions, new heat pump technology and solutions for cold chains (food and pharmaceutical products).

The EDC needs additional capacity, test chambers and larger research facilities equipped with the latest technologies. It is therefore planning the construction of a cutting-edge development complex on the Science Park site of Ghent University in the second half of 2021. The new and more extensive EDC is also very important for DENV with a view to the further development of new technologies.

Since the foundation of Daikin's EMEA Development Center in Ostend in 2012, the leading European research platform has experienced an explosive expansion with, among others, satellite centres in Ghent, Pilzen (Czech Republic), Güglingen (Germany) and Hendek (Turkey).

Kazuhide Mizutani, General Manager EDC: “We are currently working with almost 220 R&D employees in our branches in Ostend and Ghent. This is an increase of about 140% since the foundation of the EDC in 2012. From our start-up, we have expanded our research infrastructure and built additional test chambers for temperature control. All this as a result of the increasing demand for energy-efficient alternatives to traditional heating solutions. If we want to stay ahead of the market needs and the clear environmentally friendly orientation of Europe, then further expansion is imperative.”

The growth of this research market is mainly prompted by the international shift towards the phasing out of heating systems running on fossil resources in the long term. Fossil fuels are becoming scarce, and there is a global drive to reduce CO2 emissions. With its EU Green Deal policy (the acceleration of decarbonisation), Europe is playing a pioneering role in this field, and promoting energy-efficient alternatives to traditional heating solutions.

With its heat pumps, Daikin has an innovative technology that offers an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient alternative. The proportion of heat pumps within the heating market is therefore strongly growing. In addition, the industry is also increasingly looking for solutions for cold chains (food and pharmaceutical products – just think of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines) and new heat pump technologies. Here as well, the EDC is a spearhead in terms of research and development in Europe.

Following a study into the ideal new location for the headquarters of the EMEA Development Center, Daikin Europe N.V. had its eye on the Ghent University Science Park.

As a Top 100 university, UGent has a renowned doctorate programme in ‘Mechanical Engineering’, and is, in that sense, a significant source of future employees. UGent and the EDC have already worked together, and will intensify their collaboration at the new site in the field of new heating technologies, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.

A planned investment with a total value of 140 million € at the UGent Science Park in Zwijnaarde.

The new building will consist of two parts: test facilities and office space. The test areas, with a total surface of about 4,000 m², will be among the most advanced of their type worldwide. The most modern EMC (ElectroMagnetic Compatibility) chambers will be installed, as well as test chambers for, among others, specific particles, discharge and material analyses. Daikin is planning the implementation of the new building following the most advanced energy-efficient standards, including nZEB (nearly Zero Energy Building), and a BREEAM Excellent certificate.

The office accommodation will amount to about 13,000 m², and provide space for roughly 500 employees. Daikin Europe N.V. expects to be employing around 380 employees at the EMEA Development Center by 2025. The remaining space in the office building can be taken up by employees from UGent or other research companies.

The preparatory work could start towards the end of the summer of 2021. The intention is to inaugurate the test building in May 2023, and to take the office area into use at the end of 2023.

Daikin Europe N.V. intends to bring the respective employees over to the new workplace in the best possible conditions. The management informed the social partners of its plans during today’s Works Council meeting. They will now investigate together how this relocation can be carried out as smoothly as possible, with the utmost attention to the concerns and focus areas of the employees and the social partners, in line with the tradition of the company.

The EMEA Development Center will also unabatedly continue its search for interesting R&D profiles.

Find out more on our website about: heat pump, Daikin, CO2

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