On 31 May 2018 the closing event of the  EFRO/SALK project 'Towards a Sustainable Energy Supply in Cities' took place. The three pillars SolSThore, GeoWatt and SmarThor form the cornerstone for a future-proof energy system. "The project not only focused on individual technologies, we also look for a system approach that integrates both electrical and thermal energy sources" says CEO Ronnie Belmans. "By bringing all these sources into contact with each other, we create a great deal of flexibility and will be able to better absorb the changing energy production of renewable energy sources. "

Were you unable to attend the event but would you like to go through the presentations or posters presented? Below all useful links can be found.

EFRO SALK Slotevent

Towards a Sustainable Energy Supply in Cities

Our energy landscape is currently facing an ambitious transition. Our future energy system has to become more sustainable, while guaranteeing a balanced energy supply, without any shortage, drastic excesses or substantial losses. To absorb ebbs and flows in the intermittent energy supply of renewable energy and to optimally use the energy produced, we need an integrated and balanced system approach which takes into account multiple energy vectors, both thermal and electric.

Quite a challenge? The EFRO/SALK project ‘Towards a sustainable energy supply in cities’ unites the necessary players from KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt and develops several innovative technologies to fulfill these ambitions.

Within the project, the energy issue is looked into by means of three innovative research tracks:

  • SolSThore:investigates novel, more efficient solar cells, optimised power electronics and batteries as well as theaesthetics of photovoltaic (PV) systems. This includes solar cells that can be made transparent or highly integrated into building façades (BIPV), low-profile DC/DC converters that can be built into the frames of innovative BIPV products interfacing with the local DC grid, and more reliable battery designs and materials as well as battery management electronics.
  • GeoWatt: looks into thermal networks of the 4th generation which are low temperature networks balancing heat/cold production with  local demand. These thermal networks will have an important impact on reducing the primary energy use (for heat/cold) by harvesting waste-heat  and complementing it with renewable energy sources. Tackled challenges in this study are needed technological innovations on substations, thermal storage and proximity of deep geothermal heat and how to create flexibility and balance the system while keeping the  investment and operational costs low.
  • SmarThor: In Energy as a Service concepts, ICT is connecting user comfort and renewable generation. At the same time ICT is connecting the different energy vectors, electricity, gas, heat and cold. This will enable multi-energy systems, thermal and electric energy sources are optimally interwoven with each other and their usage. EnergyVille develops the techno-economic framework, by means of an ICT-platform, integrating thermal and electrical energy alike.


Booklet and scientific papers

Want to know more about the project? Download the booklet with all technologies developed and conclusions drawn or discover the scientific papers published during the project here



  • Introductie by Ronnie Belmans
  • SolSThore by Jef Poortmans, Eszter Voroshazi, An Hardy, Jeroen Büscher, Johan Driesen, Hans Goverde, Kris Baert
  • GeoWatt by Lieve Helsen, Dirk Saelens, David Lagrou, Ann Wouters
  • SmarThor by Wim Cardinaels, Pieter Valkering, Erik Laes, Kris Kessels, Klaas Thoelen






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