SmarThor, research platform for multi-energy systems and markets

Last modified: 
16-06-2016

In the SmarThor project, EnergyVille is developing an ICT platform that can control a fully integrated multi-energy system, using EnergyVille’s own algorithms. We aim for real-life and properly functioning demos in residential areas or industrial sites with an optimally functioning energy system, meaning that the various energy sources, thermal and electric, are perfectly aligned to each other and to the consumption. The first of these demos will be at Thor Park itself and is in development as of 2016. Thanks to a link with the EnergyVille labs, the system can always be adjusted whenever new insights arise.

 
Domain: Electrical systems, Energy storage, Market & strategy, Cities in transition, Thermal systems
Period: 01-06-2015 to 31-05-2018
Status: 
Open project

With the SmarThor programme EnergyVille is developing an overarching ICT platform for the new labs in Genk. As a result, new optimisation strategies can be tested, with simultaneous use being made of installations in the Battery Testing LabThermo Technical LabHome Lab, and garage as well as the building technology, PV systems... and simulated systems. In this way, researchers have a test environment where experiments can easily be scaled up from the lab to real life.

Architecture and interfaces are defined from the outset in such a way that tests are possible from multi-energy optimisations. We understand ‘energy’ here as a service whereby customers are offered comfort (heating, cooling, lighting, cooking, etc.), while the supplier manages the complexity and has maximum flexibility to complete the task via residual heat (energy-efficiency/recovery), cogeneration (simultaneous production of heat and electricity), heat pumps (conversion of electricity into heat and cold), thermal storage, electrical storage, etc.

Parallel to the development of this ICT platform, EnergyVille is working on potential market models for energy services and multi-energy solutions.

Help develop the experiments

EnergyVille is not pursuing this project alone; we are reaching out to all stakeholders in this story to shape the different (and even competing) visions of future energy supply together. We will then analyse these visions further and develop them into experiments and later project plans. We also assess the feasibility of the various aspects such as local situation, technical integration, joint objective, underlying market model, mutual responsibilities, and regulatory framework. To make these experiments as realistic as possible, EnergyVille is collaborating with the relevant authorities and market participants to install zones with few regulations during the experiments.

Make your residential area or industrial site the most sustainable

Thor Park is the first cluster where EnergyVille will validate the platform and the technology. Together with our partners we are also seeking additional clusters such as a residential area, industrial site or both where we can carry out these experiments in real life, with the best potential possible.


SmarThor is the third work package in the project 'Towards a Sustainable Energy Supply in Cities', part of the Strategic Action Programme Limburg (SALK). It enables EnergyVille to create an even better integrated first-rate research centre by 2018, with a 1,400 m² laboratory facility, top-notch equipment, expert teams and fourteen pioneering demonstrators, in partnership with local industry. This research centre will be a focal point for international industrial partners.

More specifically, we strengthen these three axes of our research:

  • SolSthore - highly integrated PV systems in buildings, connected with smart grids and combined with battery storage
  • GeoWatt - thermal networks of the 4th generation that bring local demand and heat and cold demand of large groups of users in balance
  • SmarThor - the techno-economic framework necessary to form CO2 neutral smart energy clusters integrating thermal and electrical energy alike.

This project is a cooperation by the University of Leuven, VITO, imec and the University of Hasselt. It receives the support of the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund ERDFFlanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Province of Limburg.

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Wim Cardinaels - Project Manager

+32 14 33 58 89
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