CIT’s Nimbus Research Centre, Ireland’s largest dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) facility, has beaten off stiff competition from industry experts throughout Europe to secure €2 million in EU funding for a high-priority Horizon 2020 project, E2District, which will be instrumental in transforming the future of energy consumption in Europe. This is a hugely positive endorsement of the excellence of Irish research and innovation. The Nimbus Centre’s contribution to this vital project will not only elevate the impact of Ireland on the European energy stage, it will also directly generate five new jobs at the Centre.

Climate change is a hot topic right now and smart thinking about sustainable energy solutions is needed more than ever. The evolution in smart technologies is opening up a path to efficient and cost effective energy solutions which will have a positive impact on our patterns of energy consumption into the future.  The Nimbus Centre is leading the charge in this area with the E2District project which was officially launched last month.

The three year E2District project is being coordinated by Dr. Martin Klepal and his team, which includes Dr. Christian Beder, Julia Blanke, Barry Gettings and Emily Twomey, at the Nimbus Centre. The project is supported by a consortium of global market leaders and key stakeholders in the provision of district heating and cooling system solutions – United Technologies Corporation (UTC Ireland), Veolia (France), Acciona, (Spain) and Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB France).

The focus of the E2District project is to develop an innovative cloud based software infrastructure and citizen engagement strategy to manage and support smart energy usage and decision making for sustainable district heating and cooling systems. The project aims to create a replicable model which can be promoted under the EU Horizon 2020 project framework and adapted for other similarly managed industrial or domestic sites – whether local, national, or international – with a view to delivering increased energy efficiencies and measurable cost savings.

District energy systems, which pipe steam and hot or cold water around a district from a central location, are being used in a variety of cities worldwide because of their higher energy efficiency which can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of cooling and heating. This can result in improved air quality, and, where district systems use renewable power sources, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and energy imports, increasing the resilience of cities to fuel price shocks.

CIT’s campus-wide experimental testbed, along with city district experimental sites in Belgium and Czech Republic, serves as an ideal testbed for demonstrating the advantages of E2District’s software defined heating and cooling infrastructure. The project is targeting energy cost savings of 30%, indicating that eventual widespread adoption of similar smart district heating and cooling infrastructures could deliver significant efficiencies and reduced costs over the long-term.

Project coordinator Dr. Martin Klepal said “We are delighted to be coordinating such an exciting project which has real potential to positively influence future European energy consumption patterns. Our involvement in E2District not only further strengthens CIT’s international position in this critical domain, it also reinforces Cork’s global reputation as a centre of excellence for technological innovation.”

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