Some 150 participants attended the sixth Living Lab event of the Northern Connections project, which took place on 20 November as part of G-STIC 2019 (Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Conference) in Brussels. The goal was to bring together innovative companies and concept ideas with two groundbreaking local projects - Blue Gate Antwerp & Green Energy Park.
The event was organised by Cleantech Flanders (Belgium), one of the 22 partners of the Northern Connections project (others being Renewable Energy Hamburg, The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, HafenCity University Hamburg, etc.). In addition to a presentation of the Blue Gate Antwerp and Green Energy Park projects, there were exciting key notes on current developments in energy and mobility infrastructure in Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium as well as innovation pitches from 15 international, small and medium-sized companies. The products of these companies make a significant contribution to the Blue Gate Antwerp and Green Energy Park projects.
Blue Gate Antwerp: sustainable mobility hub
Dimitri Torfs, project manager of Blue Gate Antwerp, wants to develop a sustainable mobility hub that includes fossil-free vehicles and shared services for local and downtown transportation. Thierry Coosemans, Head of Research at the Free University of Brussels, presented the vision of supplying the Green Energy Park with electricity and heat through a bi-directional multi-energy grid, which is fed, among other things, by a low-temperature heat network of a computer centre. This would only be possible if the power of innovation within the North Sea region could be harnessed and the project were to find the right stakeholders and solution providers.
Connection with small and medium-sized enterprises
For Stef Denayer, Business Developer at Cleantech Flanders and organiser of the Living Lab, expectations were high. Despite international key notes during the plenary event, the individual discussions between project managers and international solution providers that were planned in advance were the most important element of the Living Lab for him. According to initial feedback, both Green Energy Park and Blue Gate Antwerp were able to establish interesting contacts with potential business partners. Dimitri Torfs saw the Living Lab event as the ideal opportunity to raise the project's profile and link it up with innovative small and medium-sized companies.
Not only the project managers, but also the participating companies found the results of the event to be convincing. Mario Javier Pérez from FluidTech, a Danish turbine manufacturer working with very low temperature waste heat, was able to hold groundbreaking talks with the Green Energy Park project. He advises other companies to participate in the Living Labs event and to benefit from the good business opportunities.
Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster member SunOyster also successful on site in Brussels
SunOyster from Halstenbek, an innovative participant from the Hamburg metropolitan region and a cluster member, was among the 15 participating companies. They simultaneously generate electricity, heat and cold using solar energy. Amelie Krahl pitched SunOyster and made valuable contacts.
The next Living Lab event as part of the Northern Connections project will take place on 30 January 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The focus will be on innovations around the topic of “Carbon Capture & Utilisation”.
Information about the event can be found at: https://scotland-ccu-livinglabevent.b2match.io/