Katoen Natie Case Study

Developing a Low Carbon Compressor Package for a Leading Dry Bulk Business



Katoen Natie is a global logistics company headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium. It handles petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, consumer goods and general cargo, as well as food and feed, artworks and other precious items found in museums and galleries. Gardner Denver Transport compressors can be found on all of Katoen Natie’s dry bulk fleet, driven by the vehicle’s power take-off (PTO). In 2021, however, the company enquired about a new hybrid pneumatic solution that could be driven electrically as well as with the conventional truck PTO if necessary.


This idea stemmed from Katoen Natie’s goal to reduce greenhouse gases across its operations. The company was already using solar and wind power at its own sites throughout Europe, though this was not always possible when working at different customer locations. A hybrid solution, however, would allow the company to reduce its emissions by providing a choice of power source that best matched conditions at the delivery site.

Compressors of this kind already existed on the market, notably in Germany, but were limited with some models unable to be used at full capacity when driven electrically. Katoen Natie asked Gardner Denver to solve this problem by delivering a dry bulk compressor and tipping installation that could be run electrically at 1,000 m³/h. This was no easy feat, especially as existing compressor packages were unsuitable or too large for the chassis of Katoen Natie’s fleet, so an entirely new approach was necessary.

Katoen Natie truck front
Katoen Natie Truck



Katoen Natie and Gardner Denver have a long history working together, stretching back over 25 years. This was one of the reasons Katoen Natie reached out, though the company also recognised Gardner Denver’s ability to work around practical challenges and invest the amount of time needed to deliver an effective solution with lasting success. Gardner Denver invited the customer to its site to get a better understanding of the project, taking note of technical requirements and what would be needed to deliver a high-capacity electrified compressor that had none of the limitations found on competing designs.


As Frank Jacobs, Sales Manager at Gardner Denver points out, the project delivered a number of improvements: “Working together, our engineers developed a new compressor package based on the BL1000 with a new 37kW electric engine that could operate up to 64kW at 87Hz. This limited Katoen Natie’s dependency on a vehicle’s diesel engine when unloading dry bulk products – an important change as the company has recently averaged 5-6 deliveries per day – saving around 35 tonnes of carbon emissions over the course of a year”.


These upgrades also meant the compressor could be run to its full potential even when driven electrically, pushing more air into the silos and speeding up the unloading times at each customer location. The same principle also applied to the tipping installation, which was fitted with a smart truck battery loader. Working together, these changes have made Katoen Natie far more agile as a business.


Close attention was also given to the compressor’s overall design and layout. Jacobs adds: “To ensure the package would work on Katoen Natie’s existing fleet, the compressor’s frequency regulator was placed behind the driver’s cabin. This made the solution far more accommodating, eliminating the need for major changes to the location of mounted parts. It was a key consideration throughout the project as the company has over 300 vehicles in its dry bulk fleet, meaning any modifications vehicle’s design would be prohibitively expensive”.


This project is typical of the collaborative approach found across the businesses that make up Ingersoll Rand Transport Solutions, with knowledge regularly shared between the engineers working for each strategic brand. This approach allows Gardner Denver to design, develop and deliver products that not only make customers’ lives easier but also prepare vehicles for future work in a low-carbon economy.



Client Quote

“We knew Gardner Denver had the technical expertise to deliver an effective hybrid compressor for our fleet. While this new package has the ability to revert to diesel power, our teams often find it’s not needed as the electric drive is more than capable of working to full capacity. We can now deliver dry bulk products to our customers while also reducing emissions, regardless of whether they have sufficient electrical power on site. This is a big step forward for our business.”
Katoen Natie  Case stusy Gardner Denver
Katoen Natie truck