ET.20.018 – CIRCULAR – Carbon-neutral integrated approach based on self-sufficiency of renewable energy communities and the digital transformation at their edges

Route: Energy transition

Cluster question: 026 How can we store, convert, and transport energy efficiently?

Renewable energy communities such as PV-rich buildings neighbourhood are considered as the cornerstone for the emerging energy transition to achieve its sustainable and carbon-neutrality targets. This together with the emerging deployment of other distributed energy resources, i.e. electric vehicles, heat pumps, creates various (connected) energy islands, e.g. microgrid (electricity), electric bus fleet (mobility), or building neighbourhoods (building) crossing over multiple economic sectors. However, the development of such system focuses mainly on electricity as the most sustainable energy carrier while there is a limited interaction with other energy vectors such as heating/cooling, mobility, or hydrogen. This leads to an inefficient operation with substantial energy losses due to the natural differences in each energy vector.

CIRULAR aims to address this grand challenge with a carbon-neutral integrated approach to optimise the synergy of electricity with all other energy vectors in a form of Sustainable and Circular Energy Hubs. On the one hand, sustainability of these energy hubs relies on their self-sufficiency nature enabled by (hybrid) storage technologies, e.g. electrolysis-battery-fuel cell storage, and high-efficiency energy conversions. On the other hand, the circular use of available energy resources within the hub will be driven by enriched energy data available via the digital transformation at the edges of the renewable energy communities. Integrating these sustainable and circular energy hubs in the whole energy system creates a complex system-of-systems that requires advanced modelling and simulation tools that can capture all uncertainty and complexity aspects. This innovative concept urges for an interdisciplinary research framework to strengthen the link also to the citizens and the society, thus creating potentially societal breakthrough to accelerate the energy transition.
CIRCULAR’s consortium consists of key players in the whole energy innovation chain of the Netherlands who has been working closely together in a number of flagship energy research and demonstration projects.
Persons involved: Prof. Wim Zeiler (TU Eindhoven), Prof. Elena Lomonova (TU Eindhoven), Prof. Han La Poutre (TU Delft / CWI), Prof. Kes Vuik (TU Delft), Dr. Eric Pauwels (CWI), Prof. Zofia Lusko (TU Delft), Mr. Wim Maassen (Royal Haskoning), Mr. Joep van der Velden (Kropman), Ms. Pallas Agterberg (Alliander)


Circular energy, Digital Transformation, Energy hub, Renewable energy community, Self-sufficiency

Other organisations

Alliander, CWI, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Kropman, Royal Haskoning, Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), TU


Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Name Dr. H.P. (Phuong) Nguyen