On 10 May, the Flemish Energy Cluster revealed its new name in the presence of Flemish Minister Philippe Muyters, at a launch event hosted by Proximus. Flux50 helps Flemish companies from the energy, ICT and building sector to realize commercial breakthroughs in the transition to a sustainable energy system. To this end, living lab projects are being set up in five ‘innovator zones’.
Last week Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Energy Union, visited Belgium during his second Energy Tour. Member states of the EU need to submit their national energy- and climate plans by the end of 2017. During his visit, Vice-President Šefčovič recorded a laudatory video message for the Flemish Energy Cluster, that will be known as Flux50 as of today. Maroš Šefčovič: “The transition to a low carbon society is an inclusive process, in which politicians and civil society participate together. With Flux50, Flanders has its own, unique platform that stimulates cooperation between small, medium and large companies from different sectors and their knowledge institutions, policymakers and even the end consumer.”
COMMERCIAL COMPETITIVENESS & SUSTAINABILITY
Flanders understands very well that in the green energy sector commercial competitiveness and sustainability can go hand in hand. Says Leen Peeters of Th!nkE: “As a company in the smart energy sector, we fully realize there are certain things we can’t do by ourselves. For a while already, there has been a broad willingness and ambition to cooperate as a ‘Smart Energy Region Flanders’ on innovative and integrated energy products and – services. Finally, with Flux50, Flemish companies have a platform to facilitate this. With a coordinated and internationally oriented approach, we can seize opportunities for economic growth, while simultaneously accelerating the transition towards a low carbon energy system.” This philosophy inspired 71 engaged parties, mostly companies, to submit a Cluster Application to the Flemish Government in September 2016.
The Flemish Energy Cluster was recognized as a spearhead cluster at the end of 2016. Today, with the new name and logo, Flux50 is officially launched. Says Bernard De Potter, Administrator General of VLAIO: “Through its cluster policy Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen aims to remove all obstacles that hinder the collaboration between companies and their research institutions. Spearhead clusters are expected to effectively support the growth ambitions and internationalization of a group innovation-oriented Flemish companies. Flux50, the spearhead cluster of energy companies, will set up innovation trajectories in five innovator zones: energy harbors, microgrids, multi-energy solutions at district level, energy cloud applications and intelligent renovation. The emphasis lies on the realization of smart energy solutions for the international market. Flux50 aims at economic added value, precisely what the cluster policy represents.”
NEW NAME, FIRST CALL
In the first months of 2017 the roll-out of the Flemish Energy Cluster was prepared. Per innovator zone, a kick-off meeting was organized, where interested companies could exchange ideas and meet with partners with complementary competencies to form consortia. Jan Jaeken (Milvus) was appointed as the new Chairman of the Board and the final branding was prepared. Says Frederik Loeckx, Managing Director of Flux50 and Board member of GSGF: “Our new name has an ambitious and international ring to it. The ‘Flux’ alludes to electric current or heat flows, but at the same time it’s a broader concept. That’s fitting, because Flux50 looks beyond the grid, to integrated energy flows and smart digital solutions. The ‘50’ in Flux50 alludes to the climate targets for the year 2050, the societal background of our living labs and demonstration activities. Recently, a Feasibility Study Call was launched with May 31st as deadline. We aim to start the first living labs early 2018.”
Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport Philippe Muyters was present at the unveiling of the Flux50 name and logo: “We all know that the energy issue is one of the mail challenges of the future. Through the cluster policy we ensure that companies, research institutions and government join their efforts to find an answer to these challenges. Flux50 does this for energy, VIL for logistics, SIM for materials and Catalisti for chemistry and plastics. These are the four spearheads of the Flemish cluster policy, through which we outline a truly long-term strategy.”
The Cluster Application was initiated by nine organizations: Smart Grids Flanders, Agoria, Voka, VCB, Pixii – Kennisplatform Energieneutraal Bouwen, Living Tomorrow, iMinds, Universiteit Gent and EnergyVille.