E.ON is building the world’s first ectogrid™at Medicon Village

Medicon Village in Sweden was setup by the Mats Paulsson’s foundation for Research, Innovation and Societal Development. At Medicon Village, more than 1600 persons in more than 120 organizations work in life science, dedicated to improve people´s health and lives. The terms of the foundation stipulate that any surplus must be re-invested in research and innovation. The energy savings made from ectogrid™ have thus a direct impact on the important research and innovation there.

After the current expansion of Medicon Village is completed, Medicon Village will consist of some 140.000 m2.

An illustrative view of the ectogrid™ at Medicon Village

The ectogrid™ at Medicon Village will connect 15 commercial and residential buildings with different heating and cooling needs. The current energy consumption at Medicon Village is approximately 10 GWh heating and 4 GWh cooling. The ectogrid™ at Medicon Village has the potential to balance as much as 11 GWh of energy. The system will be built in different phases. When completed, the system will use as little as 3 GWh of supplied energy.

“What we liked about ectogrid™ is the ability to circulate, reuse and share the energy within our buildings. At Medicon Village, our tenants are committed to research and innovation in life sciences. It is as important for us as it is to our tenants that the environmental footprint of everything that we do is as small as possible. ectogrid™ is an innovation that fits well into what we want to be – a sustainable and innovative science park for research and innovation.”

Mats Leifland, CEO of Medicon Village

Why is the ectogrid™ at Medicon Village important?

ectogrid™ at Medicon Village solves an important problem. We believe that the energy solution for future sustainable cities is flexible, enables more intermittent renewable energy and moves us away from fossil fuels and combustion.

What do we mean by that?

The electrification of our world is a megatrend that is only going to increase. Renewable energy from windfarms and solar panels is rapidly becoming cheaper and is making old fossil fuel power plants obsolete. This is a good thing. Renewable electricity will continue to increase but in many parts of the world we already today see that e.g. wind farms are sometimes producing more electricity than the grid can handle – they are at times steered out of wind.
In the future, we need energy consumers that can be flexible and at times both reduce their consumption and increase their consumption. Energy consumers are typically not flexible at all – on the contrary.
Flexibility is part of the answer. Higher efficiency is another part of the answer. In our cities can find two large energy users that can help us.

One is electrical vehicles.

The mega trend towards electrification of our vehicle fleets will remove combustion from millions of vehicles – at the same time – our vehicles are actually parked most of the time. The millions batteries in parked cars can both help to stabilize our grids and to store energy. In the future, parked cars will be a “free battery” providing flexibility to the city.

The technology behind this is called “Vehicle to Grid” or V2G.

The other is thermal heating systems.

Historically, many parts of the world have been hesitant to use electricity for heating but what is happening in the energy revolution towards renewables turns that perspective upside down. Thermal energy systems have a lot of inertia (i.e. flexibility) and using heat pumps makes them very energy efficient.

At Medicon Village we are connecting heating and cooling needs, further increasing the efficiency. We are using temperature ranges that enable us to also store energy in the grid, in the ground, in accumulators and in the building frames. We are also using knowledge about the users, enabling the system to optimize the use of all flexibility in these thermal batteries based on predictions of weather and future energy use patterns. The system can both stand back and wait before using energy – or use energy when there is a surplus of renewable available. The built-in flexibility enables more intermittent renewable energy.

The technology behind this is called ectogrid™.

At Medicon Village this will be demonstrated. The project at Medicon Village is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency.