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BRICKER goes border hopping at the conference “Rethinking Energy in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion”


Some 100 delegates and speakers met in the Meuse Rhine Euroregion (in local languages) on 7 September to look at how the partner regions could use their research and innovation capabilities to address the structural and energy challenges ahead.

Among those participating were BRICKER colleagues Catherine Pinet and Raymond Charlier from Province of Liège who took the stage in the afternoon to present their demo site and our project as part of a workshop entitled Energy efficiency and energy saving. Their Province is one of five areas to make up the Meuse Rhine Euregion – one of the earliest formal cross-border partnerships to be set up – which straddles Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands.

In keeping with the spirit of the vibrant local cross-border cooperation, the one-day conference was split between two countries, taking place in the morning in the German city of Aachen and then for the afternoon in the Dutch town of Heerlen, just a few kilometres away.

The morning’s proceedings were hosted at the E.ON Energy Research Centre on the campus of the University of Aachen, and began with a presentation of KlimaExpo. This is a new climate change initiative by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia involving an ideas lab and numerous events, projects and campaigns about climate protection which will take place over an eight-year period. This presentation was followed by a talk by Dr. Christian Haag, chief executive of Electrical Networks of the Future Research Campus. He described the work of the pioneering E.ON research centre and its five main fields of interest: grids and storage, buildings and districts, heat and power plants, energy markets and policy.

Delegates then hopped across to Heerlen on the Dutch side of the border to take in the De Wijk van Morgen or The District of Tomorrow – an exciting initiative for researchers and businesses working in the field of the sustainable built environment. It is aptly located at the European Science and Business Park Avantis which sits right on the border between Germany and The Netherlands. The work of the District of Tomorrow substantially overlaps the fields of our project BRICKER and involves designing, studying and trialling sustainable technologies for future use in towns, neighbourhoods and buildings throughout the Meuse-Rhine Euregion.

The conference concluded with a set of three workshops and then a joint discussion panel. They focused on renewable energy conversion, materials, material efficiency and resource management respectively. This third workshop was run by our colleagues from Province of Liège who are in charge of the BRICKER’s Belgian demo site. Catherine and Raymond addressed an audience of 40 attendees about the ongoing works at Liège but also about the BRICKER system as a whole.