Northern Connections Living Lab in Brussels
Approx. 150 participants took part in the sixth Living Lab Event of the Northern Connections project, which took place in Brussels on 20 November during G-STIC 2019 (the Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Conference). The goal was to connect innovative companies and concept ideas with two pioneering projects on site – Blue Gate Antwerp & Green Energy Park.
The event was organised by Cleantech Flanders (Belgium), one of the 22 partners of the Northern Connections Project (including Renewable Energy Hamburg, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, HafenCity University of Hamburg, etc.). Along with the presentation of the Blue Gate Antwerp and Green Energy Park projects, there were also exciting keynote speeches on the developments of the 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 from these companies make a decisive 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 comprises fossil-free vehicles and shared services for local transport and transport to the city centre. Thierry Coosemans, head of research at the Free University of Brussels, presented his vision of supplying the Green Energy Park with power and heat via a bi-directional multi-energy grid that is fed via a low temperature thermal grid from a computer centre, among others. However, this will only be possible if the innovative power within the North Sea region can be bundled and the right stakeholders and suitable solution providers found.
Connecting with small and medium-sized companies
For Stef Denayer, business developer at Cleantech Flanders and organiser of the Living Lab, the expectations were high. Despite international keynote speakers during the plenary session, for him the individual meetings planned in advance between project managers and international solution providers were the most important element of the Living Lab. The initial feedback has resulted in interesting contacts leading to possible business partners for both the Green Energy Park and Blue Gate Antwerp. Dimitri Torfs saw the Living Lab event as the ideal opportunity to raise more awareness for the project as well as connect with innovative SMEs.
It was not just the project managers who were happy about the results of the event, the participating companies were as well. It enabled Mario Javier Pérez from FluidTech, a Danish turbine manufacturer that works with particularly low-temperature waste heat, to have ground-breaking conversations with the Green Energy Park project. He advises other companies to participate in the Living Labs and make use of the excellent business opportunities.
EEHH member SunOyster also finds success on the ground in Brussels
Among the 15 companies participating, SunOyster from Halstenbek, an innovative player from the metropolitan region of Hamburg and cluster member, was also in attendance. It simultaneously produces electricity, heating and cooling from solar energy. Amelie Krahl presented SunOyster in a pitch and made some valuable contacts.