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Building Resilient Energy Systems

Project D2Grids

The Department of Science of the Open University (OU) is a partner in D2GRIDS (Demand Driven Grids). This new Interreg North-West Europe project, coordinated by Mijnwater BV in Heerlen, aims to roll out 5th generation heating and cooling networks (5GDHC) throughout Europe. Five pilot sites in Paris-Saclay (FR), Bochum (DLD), Brunssum (NL), Glasgow and Nottingham (UK) will develop the 5GDHC networks. The total project budget is 20.8 million Euro of which 11.6 million Euro is covered by Interreg funds. The OU participates for €400,000 in the project, of which €240,000 is covered by Interreg. The project duration is 3 years. The research project fits perfectly within the years of cooperation between the OU and Mijnwater BV.


World society presently is facing major challenges in the fight against climate change and limited fossil energy resources. In recent years many urban areas have set the ambition to become ’energy neutral‘ within the next decades. In these plans the existing energy infrastructure has to be transformed from a centralized system based on fossil fuels (natural gas, coal, oil) towards a more resilient, individual system based on the use of renewable energy resources. Due to fossils fuels being powerful, which were applied in a market with high demands, the transition is creating a new reality: limited and often fluctuating renewable sources in a market with insulated buildings and prosumers. In such a market resilience is a substantial and critical success factor. A new infrastructure has to be build based on e.g. solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy.

In the new situation storage of heat and cold, and smart (peer-to-peer) exchange of several kinds of energy carriers (among others: water and electricity) most probably will become crucial. Roadmaps for stepwise transition towards such a system, securing energy delivery and guaranteeing payable prices have to be derived from thorough monitoring and evaluation of these processes. Analysis of potential carbon-free urban energy systems give rise to many questions. What are their essential characteristics? What different approaches could be chosen and in which aspects do they differ? What problems are encountered in the realization of the ambitions? Which stakeholders are involved? To which extent does the new system become more resilient than the former fossil-fuel based energy? Which recommendations can be made for (urban) regions that face the unavoidable transition towards innovative more resilient energy systems?



We offer an online course on Energy Analysis The course provides an introduction in the analysis of energy systems and energy technologies. In the course, attention is spent on both energy supply and energy demand systems. The course offers methods and tools to analyze energy systems. Topics in the course are, among others: thermodynamics (basics), energy services and demand, energy extraction and conversion, energy markets, energy in a social context, energy management, energy chains, life cycle energy analysis, measuring energy efficiency and intensity, energy technologies, energy scenarios and policies for efficient energy use and renewable energy.

More information and enrollment form 


For further information on research and education on (renewable) energy contact Dr. Wilfried Ivens