Leiedal Intermunicipal Association

Circular economy

RE/SOURCED Renewable Energy SOlutions for URban communities based on Circular Economy policies and Dc backbones

“Bloomberg and the International Renewable Energy Agency have calculated that by 2030 2 million old batteries will have been removed from electric vehicles and that 8 million tons of PV panels will have been discarded as waste. The Transfo district wants to demonstrate that things can be done differently.”

Mayor of Zwevegem, Marc Doutreluingne
The project in numbers
90%
of the Transfo district’s energy use will come from a community-shared renewable energy system.
50%
of the elements used to build this system will be sourced using circular procurement.
70
families will experience the added value that this lighthouse project offers.
10
businesses will experience the added value that this lighthouse project offers.
50 000
visitors will experience the added value that this lighthouse project offers.
3,998,436.80
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenges addressed

Belgian policies are giving small-scale and individual renewable energy installations an important role in the energy transition. However, these installations are not the most energy-efficient nor cost-efficient from a societal point of view. Midscale, shared renewable energy technologies should improve energy efficiency and make the energy transition cheaper.

Sharing is a common strategy in the context of energy communities. Other circular strategies, however, like product life extension through reuse, refurbishment and repurposing, reduction through efficient use or even circular supplies, are still less common in the field of renewable energy production, storage and distribution. This expanding sector also needs circular thinking to cap the increasing demand for raw materials such as steel, copper, cobalt, aluminium and lithium.

Partnership
  • Leiedal Intermunicipal Association and 1 municipality: Zwevegem municipality;
  • 1 university: Ghent University;
  • 1 regional public authority: Province of West Flanders;
  • 2 business support organisations: Flux50, REScoop.eu;
  • 1 research organisation: Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO).
Solutions proposed

The aim of RE/SOURCED is to design and demonstrate a circular midscale and self-sufficient energy system in an urban environment. The project is implemented on a vast and multifunctional heritage site called ‘Transfo’, consisting of (social) family housing, offices, a microbrewery, event spaces and leisure and sporting facilities.  

The backbone of the system is a DC (direct current) power grid, linking a collective set of distributed renewable resources (PV and wind) and energy storage (second-life batteries, vehicle-to-grid and pumped and flywheel storage in existing structures).

The DC power grid offers efficiencies both in terms of energy savings (less power waste because of fewer conversions from DC to AC) and material use (up to 33% more capacity with the same amount of metals). Sharing of production and storage capacities, deployed at distributed locations, brings significant capacity savings, both in terms of required materials and cost. The recycling opportunities of PV and retrofitting and refurbishment of wind turbines are, front and foremost, criteria in the circular procurement procedures.

A renewable energy co-operative, in which all site users have a share, will manage the infrastructure and co-operation. Sharing energy production and storage facilities enables the community to obtain the same level of self-sufficiency with far fewer materials and also enables local balancing through demand-side management.

Citizens, schools and professionals will be invited to experience the advantages of the DC circular smart grid, raising awareness throughout civil society. A training package for professionals will enable other cities to adopt integrated circular energy systems.

Expected results

The main expected results of RE/SOURCED are:

  • An increased share of renewable energy through community-shared solutions.
  • Downscaled and rationalised renewable energy production and storage facilities, providing identical services for its users.
  • A reduced need for raw materials and higher adoption of certified circular products in (shared) renewable energy systems.
  • Enriched insights on the part of consumers and citizens into the benefits of (shared) renewable energy systems and awareness of available technologies.
  • More renewable energy professionals willing to introduce circular economy policies in renewable energy projects.
Main milestones
  • June 2021: delivering the blueprint for a circular smart grid through the application of circular design principles. The blueprint includes the system layout and contains aspects of material reuse, recovery and recyclability, energy efficiency, energy resources, governance and shared economy.
  • June 2021: delivering the blueprint for an energy co-operative. The blueprint is the basis for the roll-out and is used by participants, stakeholders and future service providers.
  • December 2021: signing of the notarial deed that establishes the energy co-operative. The co-operative guarantees continuity after the project’s life cycle.
  • December 2022: booting up the circular smart grid lighthouse demonstrator. The circular smart grid is operational. It uses a DC backbone to connect midscale renewable energy production, different energy storage systems and a docking station for new technologies. The system layout and its components comply with the circular design standards. Based on smart meter data, supply and demand are matched. Exchange with the upper grid is minimised.
  • December 2022: opening the educational trajectory. The project site welcomes children and citizens. It explains the possibilities of circular and shared renewable energy systems. Key features are a set of points of interest (installations to envision and reveal) and learning packages.
  • March 2023: delivering a training package for professionals. The package contains guidelines and recommendations on resource efficiency, energy communities, energy system design and management of complex heritage sites. It will be made available online through webinars.
The project in numbers
90%
of the Transfo district’s energy use will come from a community-shared renewable energy system.
50%
of the elements used to build this system will be sourced using circular procurement.
70
families will experience the added value that this lighthouse project offers.
10
businesses will experience the added value that this lighthouse project offers.
50 000
visitors will experience the added value that this lighthouse project offers.
3,998,436.80
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Merel Goossens
Project Manager
Donal O'Herlihy
UIA Expert

Related projects

Antwerp Call 2
Antwerp
Antwerp Circular South - engaging the community in an online and offline circular economy
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
521,946
ERDF:
EUR 4,979,239.40
Duration:
01/01/2018-31/12/2021
Heraklion A2UFood project
Heraklion
A2UFood - Avoidable and Unavoidable Food Wastes: A Holistic Managing Approach for Urban Environments
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
173,993
ERDF:
EUR 3,130,359.00
Duration:
01/03/2018-28/02/2022
Kerkrade Super Circualr Estate project
Kerkrade
Super Circular Estate - First Circular Social Housing Estate for 100% Material and Social Circularity
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
114,522
ERDF:
EUR 4,712,765.24
Duration:
01/11/2017-30/04/2021
City of Lappeenranta
Lappeenranta
Urban infra revolution - Circular economy materials and novel method development to produce recyclable and functional urban construction products
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
73,000
ERDF:
EUR 3,386,638.4
Duration:
01/11/2017-31/10/2020
Ljubljana Applause project
Ljubljana
APPLAUSE - Alien Plant Species from harmful to useful with citizens' led activities
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
288,307
ERDF:
EUR 4,162,071.76
Duration:
01/11/2017-31/10/2020
Maribor Urban Soil 4 Food
Maribor
URBAN SOIL 4 FOOD - Establishment of Innovative Urban Soil Based Economy Circles to Increase Local Food Self-sufficiency and Minimize Environmental Footprint
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
111,550
ERDF:
EUR 2,998,120.00
Duration:
01/12/2017-31/11/2020
Sevran Earth Cycle project
Sevran
Earth Cycle - On-site recycling process of extracted soil from the subway work in SEVRAN and its impact on the circular economy
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
50,374
ERDF:
EUR 4,885,025.36
Duration:
01/03/2018-28/02/2021
Velez-Malaga Brick-Beach project
Velez-malaga
BRICK-BEACH - Artificial regeneration of urban beaches with eroded recylced aggregates
Topic:
Circular economy
Population:
78,890
ERDF:
EUR 4,040,240.00
Duration:
01/07/2018-30/06/2021