Medicon Village becoming an international demonstration area for E.ON's new energy system - and it was in Future by Lund that the collaboration began. Here is the story of how Sonny Strömberg from E.ON and Erik Jagesten from Medicon Village discovered the companies’ common interest, which has resulted in launching a new sustainable energy solution.
E.ON’s new energy solution, ectogrid ™, is a system for linking properties with different energy needs (see the film). Medicon Village in Lund covers an area of 114,000 m2 and consists of both laboratories and office buildings that have high heating and cooling needs. The area is thus a great fit for the new energy system. Through working together, the goal is to reduce energy use by 70 percent.
The collaboration between E.ON and Medicon Village originated in Future by Lund, Lund Municipality's Vinnova-funded platform. The platform brings together over 60 participants from companies, municipalities and businesses to work with smart and sustainable cities. Within the group, different collaborations are being created to find new solutions and innovations that have not been possible for a single actor.
“The biggest contributing factor to this collaboration was that we were contacted by Future by Lund and could start discussing the possibility of working together,” says Sonny Strömberg, project manager at E.ON.
“Future by Lund makes it possible to stop, meet like-minded actors, and exchange experiences and findings,” says Erik Jagesten, Property Manager at Medicon Village.
How was the contact initiated? It all started with Future by Lund’s initiative, Future Living. In addition to Medicon Village and E.ON, the project included Tyréns, Kraftringen, Siemens and Lund University. In February 2016, the group presented its preliminary study for Medicon Village's planned expansion, including a large housing project.
“The idea was to answer questions such as the requirements for near-zero energy buildings, choice of building materials, optimal technology solutions and green innovations that could lay the foundation for a new type of construction and housing,” says Erik Jagesten.
“It was a bit special because it brought together a group of people who had not previously worked together,” continues Erik Jagesten. “It was a cross-border collaboration with people from different industries. It shows that if you are challenged in the right way you can find exciting solutions.”
“It was an interesting project where the thought was that we would create something new,” continues Sonny Strömberg. “We were given the opportunity to exchange experiences and develop ideas with companies that we might not otherwise cooperate with. It was a little odd at first, but we had a good dialogue.”
Among other things, the project looked for ways to optimize energy supply. The final report stated that “the project has created a platform for continued work. There is a ‘smorgasbord’ of possible innovations that could be lifted from the project.” Which is indeed what happened. The work led E.ON and Medicon Village to discover that there were opportunities to develop something new together.
Medicon Village wanted to reduce its heating costs for the entire property portfolio, but had not managed to the extent they hoped.
“We have many areas of heat surplus that we could not take care of,” says Erik Jagesten.
At the same time, the development of ectogrid ™ was in full swing at E.ON. Ectogrid ™ has the ability to take surplus heat and redistribute it - which was exactly what Medicon Village needed.
“We saw that Medicon Village would be a good test and demonstration facility for ectogrid ™,” says Sonny Strömberg. “We pitched the idea to them and the idea has since evolved into a dialogue over a year's time.”
E.ON's development work has progressed so far as to have 21 patent applications relating to ectogrid ™ and its ectocloud ™ software platform, and there may be even more in the future. Ectogrid ™ has just been launched and more can be read about it on Medicon Village's website, in E.On's press material and in an article in Ny Teknik. Medicon Village is the first facility in which the system is being tested and it will be shown to international stakeholders. Medicon Village expects major energy gains - it estimates it can reduce the amount of energy used per year to cover its heating and cooling needs from 16 GWh to 4-5 GWh by balancing energy flows within and between its properties. There are also plans to complement these efforts with solar power on the large roof surfaces to make the area even more sustainable.
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“It's motivating to work with something that can change the future,” says Erik Jagesten. “We are well on track and have an important puzzle piece for reducing our climate footprint and creating a financial surplus that can be returned to the activities at Medicon Village. It will be very interesting to follow the potential of the system.”
“This is a new way of thinking,” says Sonny Strömberg. “This will have major positive consequences for future energy systems. There are fantastic opportunities attached to this!”