Partner No 7: Vito/EnergyVille

Partner No 7: Vito/EnergyVille

Vito/EnergyVille is a leading independent European research and consulting center developing sustainable technologies in the area of energy, materials, chemistry, health and land use. VITO provides objective research, studies and advice enabling European, national and regional authorities to establish future policies. After 25 years of dedicated research and development activities, this has resulted in an agile operating organization of 750 researchers active in different domains of research as well for economic partners, as for the governments in Belgium and as for European and international agencies. The contribution is visible in the strengthening of the competitive power of the companies and in the scientifically backed government measures for the whole society.

This project will specifically be carried out by the unit of “Sustainable Energy and Built Environment (SEB)”. This unit has over 40 researchers that implement the transition to a more sustainable society. The expertise of this unit lies in the field of energy policy evaluation, energy modelling, energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy transitions, energy behaviour, user acceptance and engagement. VITO-SEB has a long experience in (inter)national research projects and has participated / is participating in a number of ongoing and recently completed EU funded projects (e.g. S3C, ARTS, STRATEGO, STEP-UP, ECODISTR-ICT). Since 2012, the SEB unit is part of the ‘EnergyVille’ collaboration / Joint Venture with the University of Leuven and R&D center imec.

Dr. Pieter Valkering studied Experimental Physics at Utrecht University where he obtained his degree in 1999. From 2000 to early 2013 he was affiliated as a research fellow at Maastricht University – ICIS, an institute that specialises in integrated studies on issues of sustainable development. His research focused on the integrated modelling of river management, which resulted in a PhD thesis in 2009. Additionally, he was involved in several other research projects dealing with water management, urban development, social learning, qualitative modelling, integrated scenario analysis, simulation gaming and transitions. He also taught the course Methods and Tools for Sustainability Assessment. Since 2013 he works as a researcher at VITO, unit Sustainable Energy and Built Environment, where he works on research projects at the interface of sustainable energy and societal transitions, including end user engagement in smart grids, retrofitting and renewable heat.

Dr. Erik Laes is a chemical engineer and holds additional degrees in philosophy and environmental sciences. In 2006, he obtained a PhD in engineering sciences. The topic was the role of nuclear energy in a sustainable energy supply, focusing on governance and the use of participative technology assessment methodologies as a decision support. In July 2009, he joined VITO in the unit Sustainable Energy and Built Environment where he is currently involved in projects concerning scenario analysis, sustainability evaluation of energy technology, transition management and smart grids/smart energy users.

Frank Meinke-Hubeny has a multi-disciplinary background in Urban Planning and Environmental Economics. In 2015 he joined the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) as a researcher in the Smart Energy and Built Environment unit. After finishing his first master’s degree from the Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, he worked as an urban planning consultant in the USA for over 10 years. Relocating to Belgium he decided to gain a second master’s degree in economics from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, where he specialized on (EU) policy evaluation in the field of climate action and energy policies. At VITO he focuses on long-term energy scenario models for energy intensive industries and European funded projects in the sustainable energy domain. Recent projects include the multi-level heating and cooling project STRATEGO, the energy storage mapping and planning study ESTMAP and a model based analysis regarding global resource efficient steel production.

Jan Duerinck has a degree in economic sciences and is a civil engineer candidate. He has been working for VITO since 1997 and is project manager for projects related to energy consumption and production and air pollution abatement scenarios. His expertise is quantitative economic analysis (econometric techniques, macro-economic model building) and modelling (energy models and models for emission reduction cost optimisation).

TIMES model: VITO has been active in the International Energy Agency’s ETSAP community (where MARKAL was created) since VITO was founded in 1992. VITO has contributed to the improvement of the source code in MARKAL and TIMES as well as to the development of the technical sheets. Vito presents research results on a regular basis in ETSAP workshops and IEW conferences (Stanford 2011, Paris 2013, Beijing 2015),

All infrastructure for the execution of the work (desks, computers etc) will be foreseen by VITO for VITO employees. In case of external meetings, VITO will arrange appropriate meeting rooms in Brussels or at other venues where needed.

  • Valkering, P., Laes, E., Kessels, K., Uyterlinde, M. and Straver, K. (2014). How to engage end-users in smart energy behaviour? EPJ Web of Conferences 79, 04003.
  • Valkering, P. et al. (2013). Report on state-of-the-art and theoretical framework for end-user behaviour and market roles (S3C Deliverable 1.1. available at
  • Laes, E., Gorissen, L. and Nevens, F. (2014), “A comparison of energy transition governance in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom”, Sustainability 6, pp. 1129-1152.
  • Turcanu, C., Perko, T. and Laes, E. (2014), “Public participation processes related to nuclear installations: what are the driving factors behind participation intention?”, Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 23, Issue 3, pp. 331-347.
  • Verbruggen, A., Laes, E. and Lemmens, S. (2014), “Assessment of the actual sustainability of nuclear power”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 32, pp. 16-28.
  • S3C: Smart Consumer, Smart Customer, Smart Citizen (2013-2015 / EU FP7). The S3C project aims to develop and test an innovative toolkit to facilitate activation and long-term engagement of end-users in the smart grid.
  • Support to key activities of the European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (2015 - present / EC tender). Assessing the degree of implementation of the various RHC Technology Roadmaps, thereby focusing on the analysis of the heating and cooling consumers.
  • Ecoren: Energy Renovation Cordium (2013-present / Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology - IWT). Ecoren aims to develop universal applicable BEN renovation concepts for single-family homes and apartment buildings in close collaboration with the end user.
  • ARTS: Accelerating and Rescaling Transitions (2013-present / EU FP7). ARTS is committed to understanding the role and impact of transition initiatives in cities and examining the conditions that can aid accelerating change towards a sustainable low-carbon society.
  • Ecodistrict: Integrated decision support tool for retrofit and renewal towards sustainable districts (2013-present / EU FP7). Amongst others addressing factors driving retrofit decisions of households.
  • Towards 100% renewable energy in Belgium by 2050: The study describes different trajectories leading to a 100% renewable energy system in Belgium in the long term, as well as their socio-economic impacts. Joined study by Vito, the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau and ICEDD, April 2013.
  • ESTMAP: Energy Storage Mapping and Planning: The objective of the ESTMAP Project is to create a geographical data base and maps providing information on the expected capacity of existing and future energy storage sites. Based on the results a model is being developed and links of existing infrastructures with pipelines, transmission cables, power plants, major energy end users, etc. to define overcapacity and eventual bottlenecks.
  • STRATEGO. The project aims at multi-level actions for enhanced Heating & Cooling plans and at supporting national authorities to draft their National Heating and Cooling Plans (NHCP).