VITO and NODA bring their industry-leading technology for smart control of district heating networks to the Chinese market in collaboration with Runa, a leading heating equipment manufacturer in China.  

Runa Smart Equipment Co. Ltd. is one of the top three manufacturers of heat metres and a leading heat network operator in China. In a country where district heating network infrastructure is state owned, private companies such as Runa are contracted by the state for the operation and maintenance of its heating networks. Important criteria that must be fulfilled for winning such contracts are energy efficiency, low CO2 emissions, and quality of service for end consumers. Runa is convinced that the STORM controller is the key technology that will enable them to address these challenges and gain competitive advantage.  

Runa wants to capture a larger market share through building core competence in smart control of heating networks. This collaboration is crucial for us to achieve that. We see great potential in implementing AI-based control technologies to improve quality of service for our customers and to solve technical challenges in our district heating networks.  Wayne Chen, CTO at Runa. 

The STORM controller is an AI based framework of algorithms for autonomous control and optimization of district heating networks to boost efficiency and reduce emissions. It was developed within the H2020 STORM Project and is jointly owned by VITO and NODA, who have been working towards the common goal of bringing it to market globally. As part of these efforts; the STORM technology is currently implemented on the FLEXharvester platform by VITO as well as on the NODA Heat Network framework, and is operational in several heat networks throughout Europe. 

VITO is a leading innovation provider on a global scale. Intelligent energy is an important part of that and the STORM controller has shown the value of bringing sustainable energy solutions to the market. Bruno Reyntjens, Commercial Director VITO. 

The technology transfer and VITO-NODA partnership 

VITO and Runa have entered into a collaboration in which Runa is granted the ownership of the STORM technology for exploitation within the Chinese territory. To ensure the success of the project, VITO has partnered with NODA, the co-owner of the STORM technology and VITO’s long-term research collaborator.  

The future of digital energy is not only about creating the best AI in the world. It’s also about making it available to the world. This collaboration is a great example of this. Christian Johansson, CEO at NODA. 

Experts from VITO and NODA worked together to perform a successful technical live demonstration of the STORM controller on one of the heating networks operated by Runa during the heating season 2020-21. The controller was connected to 24 building units covering a heated area of about 204,000 m2. It was followed by specialist training and transfer of knowledge, with the goal to provide full scale integration of the STORM controller in Runa’s existing smart heat network  platform. Both VITO and NODA are committed to provide support to Runa in its journey towards becoming the leader in Implementing smart control technologies for heating networks in China.  

Commercial enquiries  

Mao Debin  

Business developer  

+32 14 33 50 15  

Technical enquiries  

Somil Miglani 

Technical product owner STORM  

+32 14 33 59 50