With its wide range of innovative assets, the Open Thor living lab is a leading European Innovation Environment. It brings together industry, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, end users, citizens, and governments.
The oPEN Thor living lab, in collaboration with the city of Genk and local partners, integrates a number of neighboring residential areas and the adjacent KRC Genk site into the living lab. This gives all stakeholders access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, knowledge, and an extensive ecosystem to validate innovative energy solutions in a real and safe environment with end-users. In order to link the different assets and infrastructures, a very innovative District Heating and Cooling grid as well as an electricity grid have been installed, in accordance with 5GDHC principles.
What makes this DHC very innovative?
The District Heating and Cooling grid in Genk is efficient and aligned with the 5 principles of 5GDHC.
1st principle: Closing the Energy loop
The Open Thor living lab DHC is a closed Energy loop which allows energy exchange between residential and business areas
2nd principle: Using low-graded and renewable sources for low-grade demand
The Open Thor living lab DHC is a low-temperature grid which prioritizes heat recovery with the Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system. Besides, batteries and renewable energy generation can be combined to optimize thermal systems.
3rd principle: Decentralized & Demand-driven Energy supply
Intelligent data platforms ensure fluid exchange of data and information between the lab technologies and their users in order to deliver heating and cooling services at different temperatures to different customers, precisely on demand. Renovation technologies such as plug and play modular boxes for technical installations also aim to meet this target.
4th principle: An integrated approach of Energy flows
Energy hubs allow connection and exchange between the different energy flows within the areas of the living lab.
5th principle: Local sources as a priority
On the one hand, thermal sources are 100% local, particularly thanks to the ATES system. On the other hand, external electricity sources are well represented with renewable energy systems linked to the residential areas and solar panels on the dwellings roofs.
Soon, this DHC will be assessed with the new KPIs developed by D2GRIDS project in order to understand how it could be improved.
Do you want to assess your own DHC? Read this article to know more about the KPIS and how to do it!