Sweco office gets Belgium's first smart charging hub

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Sweco office gets Belgium's first smart charging hub

21 April 2021
Vice minister-president of the Flemish Government, Hilde Crevits has unveiled the unique Vehicle-to-Grid charging hub for the new energy-neutral Sweco office in Zelzate. Engineering firm Sweco joined forces for this purpose with technology companies ABB and Yuso. This innovation allows a system with a battery and electric vehicles to supply power to buildings.

Hilde Crevits, Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation: "In the interest of all generations to come, we have to be ambitious in greening our mobility. On the one hand, by moving differently and less, and on the other hand, also by greening our vehicle fleet. The acceleration in the number of electric cars will greatly increase the demand for energy and appropriate charging infrastructure. So the importance of the first smart charging hub being inaugurated here today cannot be underestimated. The project ticks all the boxes: it addresses the anticipated increase in electric vehicles, the production and deployment of renewable energy, the management of electricity costs and the robustness of our energy system. A strong example of innovation and technological foresight by Sweco of which I, as Flemish Minister of Innovation, am particularly proud.

Erwin Malcorps, Managing Director of Sweco Belgium, explains: "We have been promoting a sustainable mobility policy for and by our employees for many years. The focus is on the use of pioneering tools, maximum freedom of choice and limiting the number of journeys. We offer all possible options and combinations, with Mobility-as-a-Service as our guiding principle: free public transport, shared and pool bicycles, Olympus app, bicycle leasing, Cambio, carpool and sharing, ... Last year we also decided to switch to a 100% electric vehicle fleet. The installation of this smart charging hub at the Sweco office in Zelzate is an important continuation in this regard, and we are extremely proud of it."

"Sustainability is at the core of our company: we deliver it in our projects and we take responsibility for the way we act as a company. For example, we have set the goal of becoming fully climate-neutral by 2030. We are actually ahead of schedule thanks to the rapid conversion in all parts of our organisation," emphasises Erwin Malcorps.

Jochen De Smet, Sweco project leader in the Energy division, explains how the battery capacity of the electric fleet is valorised: “Vehicle-to-Grid, or V2G for short, denotes a type of charging station that works bi-directionally. This will allow the car to both charge and discharge. During discharging, energy from the battery can be sent back to the grid or to the office building. This allows us to actively use the battery in our energy system."

"We are developing a sustainable energy system that connects building, renewable energy production, charging infrastructure and a stationary battery. The renewable energy produced can then be used to its maximum potential and we do not need to draw electricity from the grid. This avoids investments in additional connection capacity to charge electric cars and minimises the cost of our electricity consumption," says Jochen De Smet.

Michel Verschuere, Managing Director at Yuso, adds: "In this project, Yuso acts as a market player. Yuso intelligently controls the flexible charging stations depending on demand and price. Such optimisation not only reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the vehicle fleet, but also improves the balance between supply and demand on the electricity network and therefore the further integration of renewable sources. The marketing of flexibility of various kinds is one of Yuso's important growth pillars. For Yuso, an occupied V2G charging station means a source of bi-directional flexibility as much as a large-scale battery that can also support the grid."

Jo Pauwels, Managing Director at ABB Belux, explains why ABB is participating in this project: "ABB is an innovative technology leader that aims to shape a sustainable society together with other parties. To achieve this, ABB focuses on electrification, artificial intelligence, automation and energy efficiency. ABB is the market leader in fast charging solutions on a global scale. Since entering the e-mobility market in 2010, ABB has sold more than 400,000 EV chargers in 85 markets, including 20,000 DC fast chargers and 380,000 AC chargers. ABB is also developing solutions to make the flow of energy to and from electric vehicles bidirectional. A number of pilot projects have been running since the end of 2020. ABB is pleased to be able to integrate V2G technology in Flanders as well, together with stationary batteries in office buildings, such as this one at Sweco in Zelzate. Innovation is in ABB's DNA. In addition to the ambitious 'Mission to Zero' project where ABB is fully committed to electrification, there is also the 'Energy Efficiency Movement', a movement that aims to reduce energy consumption by 10% globally through the use of energy-efficient motors and drives."

From left to right: Tom Van Den Noortgaete (Division Director Energy, Sweco Belgium), Erwin Malcorps (Managing Director, Sweco Belgium), Vice minister-president of the Flemish Government Hilde Crevits, Michel Verschuere (Managing Director, Yuso) and Steven Van Deun (Business lead e-mobility Belux, ABB)

Photos: © Faye Pynaert

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About Sweco
Sweco plans and designs the sustainable communities and cities of the future. Together with our clients and the collective knowledge of our 17,500 architects, engineers and other specialists, we co-create solutions to address urbanisation, capture the power of digitalisation, and make our societies more sustainable. Sweco is Europe’s leading engineering and architecture consultancy, with sales of approximately SEK 21 billion (EUR 2 billion). The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. www.swecobelgium.be

About ABB
ABB's Electrification Business Area is a global leader in electrical products and solutions, active in more than 100 countries, with more than 200 production sites. With more than 50,000 employees, we are committed to changing the way people live, connect and work by providing safe, smart and sustainable electrification solutions. We are shaping the future trends of electrification and distinguishing ourselves through technological and digital innovation, while providing our customers with an outstanding experience through operational excellence in utilities, industry, buildings, infrastructure and mobility. For more information, see https://go.abb/electrification

About Yuso
Yuso is based in Waregem and has been active on the electricity market since 2012. The company provides tailor-made purchase and sales contracts for SMEs that may or may not have already invested in solar energy on their roofs. Yuso relies on extensive digitisation and automation of its market access and customer management to manage its portfolio of nearly 1,000 access points. To this end, the company uses cloud solutions and robotisation based on Artificial Intelligence to minimise operational costs. Yuso consistently provides its customers with the link between renewable and/or flexible technologies and the energy market in all its facets. www.yuso.be