Thor park as a unique testing ground and living lab in Flanders
The Thor Park is a business, technology and science park located at the former mining site of Genk-Waterschei (Belgian Limburg). A unique offer of education, research and ‘business creation’ are combined on site, with the objective to support in the development and valorisation of smart, sustainable, circular and connected innovations in energy. In 2020, the Thor Park was recognized as the ‘regulatory sandbox for energy’ in Flanders. In the coming years, this living lab will be further expanded into a unique test environment of 93 hectares. The approval to make Thor Park the first l‘regulatory sandbox for energy’ in Flanders is the start of all kinds of new experiments to prepare our energy system for the future. The ambition is to develop Thor Park into a “regulatory sandbox”, a place where EnergyVille can experiment with new technologies and services in collaboration with industrial partners.
Sustainable mobility and smart charging
EnergyVille conducts research at Thor Park into sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems, including sustainable mobility. This research is carried out across the entire value chain, from battery materials and smart charging techniques to advice to network operators. EnergyVille is building knowledge about smart charging, for example through the development of a smart charging infrastructure in the EnergyVille 1 building. More and more EnergyVille employees are driving electric cars. The cars usually stay connected for a whole day, but the effective charging only takes a few hours. Recently, the charging sessions in EnergyVille 1 have therefore been spread throughout the day by active and automated control. In other words, charging is done in a flexible way by using smart charging. As a result, the morning peak in electrical consumption is largely smoothed out, maximum use is made of the self-produced solar energy and the employees still leave with a full battery.
Within ConnectSME, Thor Park is working on technical optimization strategies for smart charging, integrated with energy management of buildings.
As an SME, do you also want to use one of the living labs? You can request vouchers that give you advice and the opportunity to demonstrate and develop your innovation in these physical test environments.
Would you like to know more about the various living labs within the project and whether you are eligible for guidance? Read all about it here.