- Leadership (Risk level: Medium)
Once again, it must be highlighted the appropriate way in which the Breda Municipality leads the project. However, it cannot be overlooked that not only an initiative of this nature, but also the environmental and social challenge that it entails, are everyone's business: public administrations, industries and services, citizenship, academia, etc.
It is also worth highlighting the expansion of the scope of the project to the construction sector. Although it was a sector that was considered in the initial phases of the project, the outbreak of the pandemic and the stoppage in the events sector accelerated this scale-up, with outstanding results.
Breda is firmly committed to hosting events in the city, and is at the same time strongly focused on sustainable development. The idea to combine both factors is not to promote change through prohibition or restriction, but by promoting innovative solutions such as AirQon, given that events are a source of opportunities, wealth for the city and economic development of the city and the different sectors of activity involved.
These are all the necessary ingredients to lead properly this demanding project and drive it to success.
- Public Procurement (Risk level: Low)
One of the main aspects to take into account in this regard is that Breda Municipality is not the only agent that organizes events, therefore, not everything depends on it. In any case, the Municipality promotes sustainability, as it does precisely by leading this project, and more efficient alternatives for powering events, such as by offering public fixed electricity distribution network power supply points; that is, far from a prohibition or limitation model, as in the case of other cities that directly prevent the use of diesel generators.
It should not be ignored that providers capable of offering something like AirQon may be few, although there are progressively more options in the market for supporting green, efficient events. AirQon is a solution that continues to be very disruptive, although there are very valid and powerful sustainable solutions such as battery packs of all kinds, which can be combined with diesel generators and make their necessary size smaller, or also with the fixed electricity distribution network and finally avoid the use of diesel. Furthermore, other technologies are also arising, such as hydrogen-powered generators, able to charge batteries without local emissions at all, although they are still in a very incipient status and present strong safety implications that may condition their scale-up for events.
- Cross-department working (Risk level: Medium)
This aspect of AirQon is progressively growing. An increasing promotion of sustainable strategies is being carried out within the Breda Municipality, such as, for example, adopting measures of this type in the constructions that they develop. In addition to this, mobility strategies in the city are inspired by encouraging public and non-pollutant means of transport. And also, in short, there is a commitment towards going green and electric-powered instead of fossil-based energy sources, not only for events but also for other temporary actions such as street markets, parades, festivities or fairs.
The feeling is very good in the city because Breda is a very liveable, joyful city. Nevertheless, there are important open points for discussion like hosting a big amount of events or not, where the events should be located, the potential impact of the attendance that they imply, etc. Nevertheless, the Municipality is in favour of hosting events, which implies attracting visitors to the city and promoting the growth of the local economy.
Actually, from Breda Municipality point of view, AirQon is not only concerning energy. It is another element of a wide strategy towards sustainability, which means that there is a strong concern about waste, noise, emissions… for most of the people living in the city, in general, so it is not just limited to an issue of using diesel generators or not in events.
- Participative approach (Risk level: low)
Per se, this initiative is based on participation. On the one hand, there are the event organizers, who luckily have recovered their activity after the COVID outbreak. On the other hand, the participants who collaborate with their electric cars. The former is essential with their commitment to cleaner energy sources for their events, to ensure air quality and to move towards zero carbon and zero emission goals. The latter are equally important, having that their implication is essential to have green energy for powering events.
In favour of the feasibility of this solution there is the evident technological evolution of electric vehicles. That means that we are going to surpass thresholds related to battery range, bidirectional functionalities, etc. that until now, more or less consciously, could prevent the materialization of AirQon.
To this is added the present concept of mobility as a service, which also favours disruptive technologies such as AirQon. This drives us to flexible, adaptable and evolutionary models more likely to match with crowd-sourced solutions like this. And the role of construction sector in AirQon cannot be forgotten as another field where it can be used to improve air quality in urban areas, having the adaptability of the AirQon solution to the needs of each moment in construction sites. This is therefore a new business model that brings new participants and new stakeholders.
- Monitoring and evaluation (Risk level: Medium)
The different measurement campaigns performed during the development of the project point out, once again and with proven quantitative evidence, the strong impact of diesel generators on air quality. Measuring is essential to evaluate the strategies adopted, so the procedure to do so must carefully consider how environmental factors and externalities, such as traffic, weather conditions and other sources of external pollution, may interfere with air quality measurements.
Returning to normality in the celebration of events, especially regarding those that concentrate a greater number of attendees, has allowed AirQon to continue delving into performance and emission assessment of generator. In this sense, it cannot be overlooked the fact that there is not a firm regulatory framework to limit and establish emission standards due to them.
In addition to this, it must be highlighted the effort made within the project to catch and quantify the impressions, perceptions and opinions of event attendees, residents of Breda, electric vehicle users, etc. Personal opinion is another important source of information, so it is an aspect that must be taken into consideration for monitoring the progress and achievements of the project.
- Communication (Risk level: High)
The dissemination of a technology-driven, disruptive solution like this to the general public is a challenge. Nevertheless, the population is increasingly more familiar with innovative models such as mobility as a service. In fact, communication can be an enabler for effective engagement of the community, and events are excellent moments for demonstrating AirQon, apart from using it to power them. Event organizers believe in the solution, and put it into practice. Indeed, often event organizers are partners of the AirQon consortium, which is a fundamental driver for success.
There have been small to big events, some of them even world-class, such as La Vuelta, and in all of them AirQon has taken the opportunity to spread its benefits. Recovering normal activity in the events sector, in particular, once the COVID situation has been overcome, has made it possible to disseminate by doing, facilitating the involvement of participants and, in the end, allowing the development of a proper level of activity in the project.
- Upscaling (Risk level: Medium)
Undoubtedly, this is one of the strengths of the AirQon solution. It is easily applicable in a wide range of events, of all types and sizes, as it has been evidenced throughout all the implementations carried out. It has been also applied to the construction sector with outstanding success. And above all, it can not only stand as an alternative to diesel generators, but as a versatile complement to other sustainable and efficient solutions, such as on-grid connection to the distribution network in the area, battery packs, renewable energy-powered solutions, etc.
In addition to this, the evolution in technical features of electric cars work in favour of applications like this, given the greater usability of electric vehicle batteries nowadays. The success depends, anyway, on a convenient engagement of the user community, as the crowd-powered energy solution that it is.