Malmö : ‘shared energy doubles the force’

MalmoToppTio470 Swedish innovation agency Vinnova has decided to fund a new smart project in the Northern Harbour area of Malmö. The project, named “Shared Energy doubles the force”, aims at stimulating both industrial symbiosis and the use of smart energy solutions in the harbour area. With this daring plan, Malmö and the energy company E.ON build upon the knowledge and practical experiences gathered during the e-harbours program. “Shared Energy doubles the force” reaches out to a new level.

The Northern Harbour is developing into the most important industrial area of Malmö. Already, most of the energy requirements of the city (and the surrounding region) are met here. In the area you find conventional power plants, waste incinerators, biomass installations and wind turbines. Most of the heat for the district heating system of the town is produced in this industrial zone. The Northern Harbour is also one of the few remaining places in town where new industries can settle and grow. The city wants to foster much-needed employment and economic growth in this industrial zone.

Industrial ecology
The city of Malmö has formulated very ambitious climate goals (like being fully climate-neutral by 2030) . So it wants to stimulate innovation and investment in the harbour area in a sustainable direction. Connecting local production facilities, in such a way that they can use excess heat and energy from each other, is a main goal of the new project. Research is going on to identify the size and the quality of energy flows. The possibilities are checked to move from fossil sources of energy to renewable sources, to make better use of existing resources and to stimulate collaboration between partners. Energy company E.ON, owner of many production facilities and distribution networks in the area, has taken the lead in the implementation of the project, the city of Malmö facilitates the process.

Green and competitive
Bringing companies together, and letting them discuss their future activities is one of the goals of the project. Energy in many cases is a good topic to start the discussions, but then other ideas can develop. Getting familiar with the core business of neighboring industries can lead to new combinations, like the exchange of residual streams and waste product. This already is producing results, leading to the exchange of resources between partners. With the environmental performance of the area, the profitability of the local industries will improve too. In short: working towards ‘green’ solutions makes the industrial zone more competitive.

Low temperature heat
An interesting research topic in the project concerns the use of low-temperature waste heat. In many industrial areas, the supply of low-temperature waste heat is very large. But it takes a lot of effort (and energy) to work up this heat to the temperatures a district heating system needs. Unless you can define other uses for the heat. In Malmö, applications in farming are investigated ( ‘a biological cooling chain’). When this proves successful, it will not only produce ecological advantages (locally produced vegetables) but also provide jobs the city needs. This way, completely new connections can be forged between companies and economic sectors.

Smart grids: from homes to industries
E.ON has been working on smart grids in several housing developments in town (for example in the ‘smart homes’ of Hållbarheten in Western harbor – an e-harbours showcase). Now the energy company is ready to take it one step further and connect industries in the port area with a smart energy system. Mattias Örtenvik, manager for Smart City projects at E.ON, states: “The project Hållbarheten has been important for us to test solutions for the active energy consumer of the future, in a real environment with real people. The solutions center around the needs of the consumers and their role in a more distributed, flexible, integrated and sustainable energy system. A system in which the consumer becomes the producer and plays an active role. Therefore we have developed solutions for managing your own energy production with the ability to store surplus energy. Also, we developed a smart home system for additional metering, control and steering of energy in the home, with a link to smart grid technology. Solutions for e-mobility have been a successful part of these trials where the user actively can control and steer the charging. Already, the projects have resulted in the development of new services and products.”

The ‘Shared energy’ project is so new, that is does not have its own website yet. For the time being, you can follow developments via the EPIC 2020 project, in which the city of Malmö and E.ON are partners. This EPIC project in fact can be seen as an extension of the e-harbours project, concentrating on industrial symbiosis in the Northern Harbour.
For more information contact the project manager of “Shared Energy doubles the force”:

Picture: the Sustainable Top Ten of Malmö. More information here.

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