Concept image of the head theme Energy

Energy

The demand for renewable energy increases every day. VITO and EnergyVille are performing research into two crucial technological breakthroughs: electricity storage and the optimisation of thermal energy systems.

Electricity storage

The research being done by VITO and Energyville focuses on the interface between battery and energy systems. Our systems increase the maximum charging capacity and safety of batteries and keep down the total cost of storage too.

We also integrate batteries into other energy systems. The research in question pertains among others to the charging of electric vehicles and also in-station recovery of the energy generated by braking trains. VITO is also planning to do research on long-term solutions for the storage of renewable electricity in combination with the reuse of CO2 in chemical processes.

The optimisation of thermal energy systems

Smart heat networks combine the short and long-term storage of energy and interact with other energy networks (electricity and gas) and renewable energy sources, including geothermal energy.

VITO has chosen to zoom in on storage concepts for thermal energy and conversion technologies. We are developing the following in particular:

  • intelligent substations that bridge the gap between the network and the consumer;
  • control systems and software solutions that improve the cost efficiency of the thermal energy supplies;
  • systems for the use of residual heat.

EnergyVille

VITO does not carry out the above research on its own. We form part of EnergyVille, a European research centre in which we combine our forces with those of KU Leuven and Imec. Together, we develop innovations for energy systems of the future and we support the policy makers and companies that implement these innovations.

Our research domains:

  • Electricity storage.
  • The optimisation of thermal energy systems.
  • The analysis of energy systems – which transitions are taking place in relation to energy supplies, which technological innovations are necessary and how can they be implemented?
  • Interoperability – how do our technologies work in tandem with other aspects of energy supply? How can so-called virtual electric power plants be used to find the balance between the demand for and the supply of electricity?
  • Living Labs – prototypes of the technologies mentioned above are tested in real life situations. Which role is played by consumers and the other parties concerned? How effective are these technologies in a real context, such as an urban district, and how well do they perform?
  • Smart energy urban planning – we help local authorities and project developers by providing them with expert advice on the integration of different aspects of energy (efficiency, the implementation of renewable energy, storage) into their plans for urban development, ranging from one single building to a whole city. How can the quality of these projects be guaranteed and the technological risk be limited?
  • Energy policy and energy strategy – policy makers need an evaluation of the impact of existing and new policy measures. Companies and their federations want to understand how the energy market is evolving and how their competitive position will be affected.
  • Geothermal solutions – VITO supplies services that contribute to the limitation of risks for geothermal project developers: geophysical exploration, reservoir modelling, design of drilling wells and project management. 
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