Our magazine VITO vision features comprehensive expert articles in which innovative projects are explained, often in collaboration with the client or project partner(s). Below is the online version of the magazine.

Cover story | Interview with VITO CEO Inge Neven

'Taking everyone along on a positive transition journey towards a sustainable future is an amazing challenge.'

A new management agreement, an updated committee of directors, a new strategy and a new CEO: at VITO, 1 January 2024 signified a new era. Among other things, this will be characterised by greater collaboration. Within VITO itself, between the many areas of expertise in which it works, but also outside these circles with external partners, such as businesses, governments but also civilians both in and outside Flanders. And Inge Neven, the new CEO of VITO, will shape this positive transition which should lead to a sustainable future. 'Striving to realise balance in the spirit of the European Green Deal, remains the goal. Which roads we follow to end up there is of lesser importance.'


Alle artikels in de VITO Vision van januari 2024

New battery test lab to help South Africa with energy storage

South Africa has been having great difficulties with energy provisioning for years. Temporary shut-offs of the power grid in certain areas (load shedding) happen almost daily. This is why companies, as well as individuals, are installing solar panels en masse, combined with batteries for energy storage. The brand-new battery test lab that was implemented in Pretoria by VITO/EnergyVille, in collaboration with CSIR, with support from the Flemish Government, was thus very welcome. CSIR, which is to say the South African counterpart to VITO/EnergyVille, can encourage the roll-out of high-quality energy storage with the new testing infrastructure and expertise built up. 

Fluid Crew: Flanders internationally strong in complex water issues

Flanders has ever been intimately connected with water. Our region even takes its name from it: 'Flanders' is said to be derived from the Old Germanic word 'flauma', which roughly translates to 'flooded land'. Today, water is both an indispensable resource and a source of concern for Flanders. This challenge unites many companies, organisations and authorities from all fields in the economy and society. Since 2022, these stakeholders have been flying under the same flag in international waters. ‘In Fluid Crew, we're joining forces to put Flanders on the map as a water region.’

Accelerated evaluation and validation of medical AI

Artificial intelligence is being used more and more often in the healthcare sector too. AI can help detect certain illness profiles earlier and more quickly on scans. But because new upgrades often become available, the proper operation of AI-based medical equipment always needs to be verified and validated again. Through the European Vivaldy project, along with Barco and icometrix, VITO has developed some solutions for making this process quicker and more cost-effective, without compromising on quality.

With VITO4STARTERS, VITO is positioning itself amid the start-up ecosystem

This year, there will be not one, but two editions of VITO4STARTERS, whereby VITO is aiming to get start-ups working around sustainability a leg up. On 19 March, the competition will descend upon Hasselt, where the final will be held during the Flanders Technology & Innovation Festival. And on 25 July, VITO4STARTERS – now part of the furniture – will again have a presence at Love Tomorrow in Boom.

Harmonised measurement data for more sustainable soil management

Converting soil into data is what actually happens at a soil lab. But not every lab uses the same measurement methods and standards in its measurements. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation is aiming to harmonise soil monitoring worldwide. To that end, it has established a new global network – the Global Soil Laboratory Network. This is because adequate monitoring is necessary to be able to improve sustainable soil management. VITO is also part of this global network with its lab. And for Belgium and Luxembourg, it has already carried out a similar harmonisation exercise.

Technology from VITO helps extract and recover materials and raw materials

By implementing its Critical Raw Materials Act, the European Union is seeking to become more self-sufficient in the supply of materials and raw materials of importance to the energy transition. In order to achieve that, the EU intends to open up new mines and increase its recycling capacity. VITO possesses a large amount of knowledge and expertise in the extraction of raw materials from primary and secondary material streams and is developing customised solutions for various companies in Belgium and in Europe. VITO is therefore able to play an important role in Europe's transition towards a materials and raw materials policy that seeks to bring about increased self-sufficiency.

Guideline for high-quality clothing to help make fashion sectors more sustainable

Clothing that is easier to recycle is also more sustainable, isn't it? Not necessarily. On the contrary, in order to really make the fashion sector more sustainable, there needs to be a clean break with the prevailing business model, in which clothing remains in circulation for only a short time, wears out quickly and is then discarded as waste. This throw-away and over-consumption model clashes with a more circular approach in which clothing lasts for far longer, in part because it is of higher quality, but also because it can be repaired. To assist fashion companies in making the switch to a circular approach, VITO, in collaboration with Flanders DC and Xandres, developed a practical design tool.

Unique example of citizen science: Waste Watchers is identifying litter with drones and AI

Litter on the street, in nature or in rivers and the sea is not only a visible environmental problem – it also costs society a lot of money. But how do you solve it? And can citizens help with that? River Cleanup and VITO joined forces with the aim of optimising clean-up actions by identifying litter on river banks. In the citizen science project Waste Watchers, they collected drone imagery of the banks of the Scheldt in order to identify litter. The imagery was analysed at VITO Remote Sensing and processed into a user-friendly map that shows the distribution of the waste.

Circular construction in Rwanda: from pilot project to strategic partnership

Now that the Rwandan construction sector has been positively introduced to circular and sustainable business practices, and the policymakers in the African country are firmly convinced, it is time for the next chapter. With a memorandum of understanding, VITO/EnergyVille and the University of Rwanda have sealed their strategic partnership. However, VITO/EnergyVille also aims to collaborate more broadly with Rwanda and help the country in addressing its challenges with sustainable and circular solutions.

VITO employee in the spotlight - Jelle Hofman

In 2014, in connection with his doctoral research, Jelle Hofman (37) was a co-leader of AIRbezen, one of the first large-scale citizen science projects, in which strawberry plants on windowsills in Antwerp were used to investigate air quality. This formed the prelude to the well-known CurieuzeNeuzen project, in which VITO was one of the leading partners. Nowadays, Hofman is working at VITO himself. In his work within the organisation's Health unit, he is carrying out research into air quality monitoring in our surroundings. ‘It fascinates me how the measurements we take can make what is invisible visible.’ 


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