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VUB invests in 'Smart Village Lab'

28 August 2020

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is investing in a ‘Smart Village Lab’, along with Green Energy Park and the Flemish spearhead energy cluster Flux50, to develop a smart, sustainable and energy-efficient residential area. At VUB's research campus Green Energy Park in Zellik, various ‘flexible’ homes will be provided for the roll-out of intelligent systems to control these homes. With their investment of 3 million euros, the VUB and its partners hope to open their Smart Village Lab this autumn.
The concrete reason for this project is the introduction of the electricity capacity tariff in 2022. With this future tariff, peak consumption will be a significant part of the bill, and it will be important to spread electricity consumption out. After all, with the simultaneous use of, for example, a washing machine, charging an electric car and an electric oven, the bill rises considerably. Systems in which electricity consumption can be distributed, the so-called smart systems, are therefore gaining in importance.
The ‘flexible’ homes within the Smart Village Lab are bringing in researchers for the development of intelligent systems through which a home can be managed smartly and sustainably. For example, these homes exchange electrical and thermal energy via a ‘Smart Energy Grid’. This grid can also be used to connect common energy systems such as collective self-use and shared charging infrastructure for electric cars. And it is also possible to link solar panels to a car, a home battery, a washing machine, heating, etc. 
With this experimental ‘village’, the VUB is also aiming to support Flemish and European research and development projects: researchers can test new technologies in a real environment and adjust them in line with their results. In addition, there will also be focus on training: visits by both schools and the general public are anticipated. This is how everyone can discover these innovations and their importance in the energy transition.
As of the end of this year, the Smart Village Lab will be operational – so look forward to the results of the intelligent systems for managing homes in a smart and sustainable way, and you can plan a visit in the meantime.
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