Secure project lead Ulrich Leopold sharing the results of the project to the press. Seated (from l. to r.): Dr Thomas Kallstenius (LIST), Jean Lucius (Enovos), Tonika Hirdman (Fondation de Luxembourg), energy minister Claude Turmes, Erik von Scholz (Enovos)
Researchers in Luxembourg have developed a platform with 3D modeling which allows users to visualise photovoltaic (PV) potential in a bid to improve energy efficiency in entire cities.
The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Research (List) presented the results of its Smart Energy Cities and Regions (“Secure”) project during a Monday press conference and, given that urban zones account for 75% of the European population, they hope the simulation could be applied across the country in various communes or to influence policies.
“This platform is not really accessible for individual citizens,” said project lead Ulrich Leopold. “The idea is more to really support the planning and identify the entire opportunity to use it in the environment to generate electricity yields and improve energy efficiency, to really see the entire potential to stimulate investors, private people, etc.”
The entire Secure project has a budget of €337k, with nearly three-quarters (€250k) provided by the Enovos Foundation under the aegis of Fondation de Luxembourg, and the remainder (€87k) by List. Secure aims to address the need for companies and political players to get high-resolution estimates for PV investment costs and energy yield.
And it’s a platform which requires a considerable amount of data--up to 13,000 maps plus a variety of parameters combine to create one final image.
The first case study in Esch-sur-Alzette required around 3bn operations for their parameters, and Leopold said he hopes his group will be able to get the entire 3D model of Luxembourg earliest by end-2020 or early-2021.
“In a second phase, we’re looking at how to exploit the results commercially,” he said. “We’ve started a new project funded by the FNR to bring the results further to the market and see what are the potential in other municipalities…the platform is open to other communes, and this is what we are looking at now.”
Minister Turmes urges “creative thinking”
Following List’s presentation, energy and regional planning minister Claude Turmes (déi Gréng) talked about two challenges in particular, the first being how to “avoid the second wave of covid,” reminding participants that the next “two to three weeks to come” will determine how the country and its economy move forward.
The second challenge? “The threat of uncontrolled climate change.” He urged participants to “think creatively” and emphasised the urgency of projects, like Secure, to address some of those needs.
"Everything has to be super efficient, not just in terms of energy but also in terms of resources... we need to move quickly... in a country where there is an enormous need for energy," which he said includes industrial players like "ArcelorMittal, Goodyear, Dupont," etc. "There's a need for energy that is monumental."
He provided an example of a home with a simple PV installation which could potentially generate enough energy for electrical appliances, heating and charging an electric vehicle, but he emphasised the need to have compiled data which can be easily seen and accessed, e.g., at the commune level, not to mention a system which could better anticipate across a wider area. He hopes this "breakthrough" project will contribute to that vision: "it's putting together high-performance computing, modeling and information that we have."