In June 2021, Gerrit Jan Schaeffer will take over the role of General Manager at EnergyVille from Professor Ronnie Belmans, who will retire later this year. And that’s not all there is to celebrate. This year, the research collaboration between KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt for research into sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems celebrates its 10th birthday, and its 5th birthday on the premises of Thor Park in Genk.

At the beginning of June, Gerrit Jan Schaeffer will officially start as the new General Manager of EnergyVille. Not a completely new chapter, as he is one of the founding fathers of EnergyVille and used to be Group Director Energy at VITO for 8 years. With 30 years of experience in the energy sector, as an entrepreneur, researcher and research manager, Gerrit Jan is a strong asset to the research collaboration.

The current General Manager, Ronnie Belmans, will retire at the end of 2021, but will continue to fulfill a valuable advisory role within EnergyVille.

Let's look ahead

In addition to the announcement of the new General Manager, there is more to celebrate for EnergyVille. The research collaboration celebrates its 10-year anniversary and has been located at Thor Park in Genk for 5 years. “Over the past 10 years, we have evolved into a interdisciplinary collaboration that brings together the majority of energy research in Flanders,” says Ronnie Belmans.

And the ambitions remain sharp, Gerrit Jan Schaeffer continues: “We want to accelerate the energy transition by developing science-based knowledge and innovation, products and systems and applying them as quickly as possible. We do this for policy makers as well as for industry and companies. And covering the entire value chain, from materials (for example for more efficient solar panels, batteries or converters) over the development of advanced systems with interacting energy flows all the way through large-scale energy system modeling.”

High ambitions

And it doesn't stop there. This year new research topics will be added to the EnergyVille roadmaps: research into molecules to make hard-to-electrify processes more sustainable. In addition, many new projects, test setups and collaborations are in the pipeline.

“Innovation and technological developments play a key role in achieving the climate goals,” summarizes Gerrit Jan Schaeffer. “EnergyVille wants to roll out these innovative technologies together with interested partners in the living lab at Thor Park. In doing so, we hope to accelerate the energy transition together with companies, industry and the government and thus achieve an energy-efficient, CO2-neutral and sustainable society. We have many assets in our hands to be at the forefront of the energy transition together with industry and governments. Let's now make optimal use of them.”