Smart Flemish cleantech ideas head to European final

Summary

Three business initiatives have been chosen to represent Belgium in a European contest to develop climate-friendly services

Smarter households

Three Flemish cleantech business initiatives have been chosen to participate in the European final of the ClimateLaunchpad, which challenges entrepreneurs all over Europe to come up with ideas for climate-friendly products or services.

First and second place in the Belgian final went to two ideas from researchers at EnergyVille, the energy research park in Genk. SmartUp my Water and FlexiCity are developing technology for storing electrical energy from wind and sun in household appliances and making them work smarter.

FlexiCity will make refrigerators cool more intensely at times when there is an energy surplus on the electricity market. The technology of SmartUp my Water (pictured) equips boilers with heat sensors, so the electrical system knows when you are heating and how much can still be heated. This information is then used to charge beyond the peak-load hours. In both cases, the consumer pays for energy at periods that are cheaper.

Faro, from Leuven, came up with a plan for dealing with waste in emerging cities in Africa. Today, 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to waste collection, which has a very negative impact on the immediate environment. Faro offers a low-tech solution for processing plastic waste into new, marketable products for the local community. It removes waste from landfill or incineration plants, having a direct impact on the soil and air quality.

The local final was held in Antwerp last week, with the European final taking place in Tallinn, Estonia, in October. The Belgian event was supported by Vito, Deloitte, Flanders DC, GreenVille, iCleantech Flanders, EnergyVille, Limburg Startup, Start it @ KBC andStartUps.be.

Photo courtesy Vito

Sustainable energy

The five main renewable energy sources in Flanders are biomass, biogas, wind energy, solar energy and water power. The renewable energy sector has grown sharply in recent years, with wind and solar energy production especially on the rise.
Agency - The Flemish Energy Agency is responsible for implementing the government’s sustainable energy policies. Its central tasks are to promote rational energy use and environmentally friendly energy production.
Green energy certificates - One of the principal measures to promote sustainable energy are the certificates the Flemish energy regulator (Vreg) awards for electricity generated by renewable energy sources. Since the regulations were tightened in 2012, investments in renewable energy installations have declined.
Obstacles - According to the Flemish Energy Agency, the main challenges in local renewable energy production are the region’s short coast, limited height differences and direct sunlight, and high population density.
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new wind turbines created in Flanders in 2013

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million kilowattage of green energy in 2012

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percentage of green energy used in Flanders in 2012