EnergyVille opens its carbon-neutral headquarters

Summary

EnergyVille in Genk, dedicated to research on renewable energies, has officially opened its first building, while the second is already under construction

Centre of a research network

Flemish energy minister Bart Tommelein and federal energy minister Marie-Christine Marghem have inaugurated the new headquarters of research centre EnergyVille, which focuses on intelligent and sustainable energy solutions. The carbon-neutral building is located at the Thor science park, a former mining area in the Waterschei district of Genk.

EnergyVille was launched about five years ago by the University of Leuven, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research Vito and nanotechnology firm imec. About 30 researchers originally moved into a temporary workplace. Now some 200 researchers work at EnergyVille in the new building.

EnergyVille houses multiple labs with different objectives, including improving battery technology, heat networks and solar panels. In the “home lab”, scientists examine how to reconcile consumer energy demand with the fluctuating supply of renewable energy.

The new workplace is called EnergyVille I. Construction works are already underway on EnergyVille II, which is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2018. These labs will be mainly used for research on solar panels and new batteries for local energy production and storage.

It’s the goal to make EnergyVille the centre of a network of research, education and business development in Flanders, said Tommelein. He wants to support EnergyVille, he said, by establishing a flexible regulatory framework for the whole of Thor Park. This means current law would have to be adapted to make the testing of new technologies and business models less complicated. 

Photo: Yannick Milpas