Project details



Energy-hub for residential and commercial districts and transport

Start date: 01.12.2010

Duration: 48 months

Coordinator: Frans Koene

Budget: 11.7 M€


Energy-hub for residential and commercial districts and transport

Due to finite stocks of fossil fuels and the effect of greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of renewable energy from wind, biomass and solar energy etc. must strongly increase over present levels. However, due to the fluctuating nature of renewable energy supply, application of short term and long term energy storage and intelligent energy management systems are essential to match demand and supply of energy.

Thermal storage is sometimes called ‘the holy grail’ of energy neutral buildings. The consortium made good progress in improving several types of thermal storage, in particular on Thermo-Active foundations, Thermo-Chemical storage and distributed thermal storage.

The Multi Commodity Matcher (MCM) control algorithm developed in the E-hub project is able to match the supply and demand of electricity and heat simultaneously. The MCM control algorithm was demonstrated in three types of applications:

1. A simulation tool was developed in the project to carry out simulations of a virtual application of an advanced Energy Management System in five case studies: the districts of Amsterdam (NL), Freiburg (D), Bergamo (It), Leuven (B) and Dalian (China). The main conclusion is that the MCM was able to accommodate the introduction of technologies based on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and/or Recovered Energy (REC) within the district (GREEN/Low Carbon scenario). It resulted in an important decrease in primary energy use and CO2 emissions and leads to more beneficial cash-flows for the studied cases. Moreover, by introducing smart capabilities (in the “SMART” scenario) extra savings in costs can be realized. In the SMART scenario the environmental impact may decrease or increase depending on the business case selected.

2. The MCM was used to control the operation of several cogeneration units in a real lab environment, under conflicting demand profiles of heat and electricity. The main conclusion is that both in tests with and without thermal storage, the MCM shows robustness in control, coming close to the best thermo-economic solution. The latter was found in a simulation with the “ECoMP” optimisation software.

3. An ‘electricity only’ version of the MCM was applied in a full scale demonstration in the district of Tweewaters in Leuven, Belgium. The main conclusion is that the consortium set a best practice with the full scale demonstration of a high quality building equipped with a smart energy management system.

In the frame of a ‘Joint Exploitation Agreement, the simulation tool can be used by consortium members to continue to provide consulting services e.g. to municipalities in configuring energy neutral/energy efficient districts.

An important element is the acceptance of such an advanced energy system by stakeholders such as DSOs (Distribution System Operators), BRPs (Balancing Responsible Parties) and end users. Therefore, a number of new business models and service concepts, most of them based on the concept of ‘flexibility of demand’ were developed and applied in the case study simulations.

List of achievements

Lessons learnt


Contact person: Frans.G.H. Koene
Address: TNO
Tel: +31 6 21 13 43 91