A consortium that will develop a smart city energy network in the centre of Rotterdam is to receive part of a €17.7 million grant from the European Commission. Research for the Heart of the South (Hart van Zuid) project will be conducted by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) in its Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business (ECFEB), as part of an international consortium led by the City of Rotterdam.

The Heart of the South project has been awarded a €5.4 million grant to enable innovative and sustainable applications. The rest of the funding will be distributed between projects in other cities within the consortium: Glasgow, Scotland; Umeå, Sweden; Brno, Czech Republic; Parma, Italy; and Gdansk in Poland.

A smart Heart

RSM’s expertise will contribute knowledge of defining and enabling business models, e-mobility algorithms and other scientific studies to accelerate the process of transition to sustainable energy in such a densely populated region as Rotterdam. The result should be a better quality of life for all Rotterdammers.

The project will make new collaborations across the Rotterdam Zuid part of the city to integrate local energy systems, lighting, water, and most importantly, neighbourhoods. The Hart van Zuid project’s timeline aims to provide a safe, enjoyable and creative living and working environment within five years, by 2021.

RSM is to recruit a PhD student to provide the scientific evidence for smart energy management in the project. The PhD student’s research will investigate the scheduling and optimisation of electric cars and buses, as well as smart energy management in the Hart van Zuid district.

Consortium members

A package of innovative measures was devised by the City of Rotterdam and members of the consortium. As well as the ECFEB at RSM, consortium members include independent knowledge organisation TNO; independent grant consultancy Uniresearch; development and construction company Ballast Nedam; Rotterdam tram company RET; Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company KPN; natural gas, electricity and heat supplier ENECO; and datawarehouse developer  Futureinsight.

The Heart of the South project will bring co-ordinated intelligent energy management systems to Rotterdam and its landmark buildings and features, making the most of the latest energy technologies and renewable sources of energy.

Energy for music, art, swimming and transport

The project aims to demonstrate that energy from renewable sources can be shared between a range of buildings and landmarks in the area, such as the city’s concert and conference venue Ahoy, its swimming pools, a new art building and Zuidplein metro and bus station. Solar panels, urban windmills, heat-cold storage installations and energy retrieval from the sewer and from the pavement will all be used to connect buildings and public transport, and making large strides in the move towards zero CO2 emissions.

Data sharing makes it possible

Key to this project is sharing of data, a subject that was emphasised by speakers at the ECFEB’s 2016 Erasmus Energy Forum earlier this summer. New data technology in the Heart of the South project uses a 3D-model to visualise the use of energy, giving more insight into the possibilities for optimising energy management.

Complementary employment

Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb said: “Rotterdam – and in particular the Heart of the South project – is getting a strong extra impulse with this grant. The area will be made sustainable in a smart way, and as a consequence it will be become even more future-proof. The investments create complementary employment, but in particular they contribute to making the area even more attractive because air quality will improve.

“This official acknowledgement means Rotterdam is considered to be a ‘smart city’. In this respect, together with another EU smart city, Eindhoven, Rotterdam is becoming a frontrunner in the Netherlands and abroad,” he said.

Professor Eric van Heck, chairman of RSM’s Technology and Operations Management department which runs the ECFEB, said: “Our research is a great fit with this project. We can show off that RSM’s specialist knowledge and expertise on the relationship between renewable energy sources and communities can make a difference to cities by applying smart technology. It’s an opportunity for us to demonstrate – very close to home – exactly how sustainable energy integration could become widespread around the world’s cities.”

Horizon 2020

The EU grant is part of the EU Horizon 2020 programme for demonstration projects in which ICT, energy and mobility are applied in an innovative way, and whereby public organisations collaborate with businesses and knowledge institutions in an international context. The EU has drawn up a large, innovative investment agenda for Horizon 2020 for 2015-2020, with about €80 billion of funding.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s leading research-based business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at mschouten@rsm.nl.

Copyright Image: Ballast Nedam / Heijmans, gemeente Rotterdam

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