The Green Mind University took place on the 22nd of May 2018 in Brussels, and was organized by Greenfish in partnership with InnoEnergy, The Shift, WBI, Cluster Tweed and GreenWin. This one-day event is a dynamic forum for international and contrasting discussions on pressing sustainability issues. This second edition assembled speakers, professionals, innovators, and academics from a variety of disciplines to provide complementary and contrasting views on sustainability-related topics, revolving around five themes:
This year, the GMU was held at La Tricoterie in Brussels. By organizing the Green Mind University at La Tricoterie, we also played a role in the site’s ecological footprint. La Tricoterie has many electrical appliances that are necessary for its activities: stage projectors, audiovisual equipment, cold rooms, professional ovens, etc. With its 1.200 m2 and a conveniently angled roof, La Tricoterie allows for the installation of 40 photovoltaic panels. This would generate up to 25% of its electricity in an entirely ecological way. The renovation of the building has already been planned to optimize thermal insulation and a double-flow air renewal system has been put in place. Funding for the installation of these photovoltaic panels will allow for the continual modernization of this old factory in a sustainable development frame of mind.
The one-day conference started with a brief introduction from our CEO, Nassim Daoudi, about climate change and the goal behind the Green Mind University. Almost 3 years after Paris, the implementation of the agreement is key but challenging nonetheless. We all need to be and remain dedicated. Greenfish is here to lead the way, to help companies make the transition and see the business opportunities that this transition introduces. The pictures displayed on the slideshow spoke for themselves: air pollution, temperature records, CO2 emissions, plastic pollution, etc. Because « there is no planet B », as Nassim Daoudi recalled, the goal of the GMU not only consists of learning and sharing knowledge, but also developing a committed Green Mind Community. Greenfish officially launched its pilot project of an online community platform around sustainability related topics. For more information about this pilot project, please contact Géraldine Wirtz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Following this brief introduction, the Green Mind University had the honor of hosting thirteen players in the field:
- Damien Ernst / Uber-like models for electrical industry
Damien Ernst, professor at ULiège, presented his seminar about the Uber-like models for the electrical industry. The aim was to show the future models of the electricity network: battery-powered trucks delivering electricity to homes, boats replacing submarine cables, and autonomous electric vehicles carrying electricity. This is not science fiction according to Damien Ernst.
- Benny Kim / GreenTown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in the US
Benny Kim presented GreenTown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in the United States that recently opened its new headquarters, the Global center for Cleantech Innovation. The mission of the company is to cultivate a passionate community of entrepreneurs committed to solving the world’s biggest efficiency, energy and environmental challenges by providing the resources and labs they need to succeed.
- Andreea Strachinescu / The EU framework for the development of smart cities and communities
The Head of Unit of the DG Energy at the European Commission gave an interesting speech about the challenges of the sustainable development of urban areas. It requires new, efficient and user-friendly technologies and services, particularly in the areas of energy, transport and ICT. However, these solutions need integrated approaches, both in terms of research and development of advanced technological solutions, as well as deployment.
- Francesco Contino / Internal combustion is the new black
Francesco Contino, professor at the VUB, shared his vision on internal combustion by exposing some hard-physical constraints, introducing the upcoming technologies in engines, and providing alternatives to use engines in a sustainable way. Given their advantages, internal combustion engines will surely be part of our future.
- Patrick Hendrick / Hydrogen as the only seasonal storage option?
According to Patrick Hendrick, professor at the ULB, high integration of renewables in the energy mix will only be possible with the integration of seasonal storage. Green hydrogen produced by water electrolysis appears to be the only option but is it viable and what developments does it required? The whole chain of hydrogen used for seasonal storage has been discussed and detailed, from rain water recuperation to heat and electricity generation using hydrogen as a “fuel”. The important issue of the storage of H2 in the buildings and industry has also been tackled.
- Wouter Florizoone / Bottom-up sustainable mobility: How to achieve solution paths in the quadruple helix context?
Wouter Florizoone, Climate & Mobility Expert, presented some recent and ongoing bottom-up projects in the field of mobility. He explained how citizens become more involved in local action and provided potential solutions.
- Jean-Pierre Chisogne / Microgrids for commercial and industrial facilities: Challenges and opportunities
Jean-Pierre Chisogne, General Manager at CE+T Energrid, presented the challenges and opportunities of microgrids for commercial and industrial facilities. Today, many commercial and industrial sites are (or are willing to be) equipped with renewable energy production assets. Unfortunately, the availability of green electricity is completely random. The easy way would be to inject the surplus of energy into the grid, assuming that this will still be cost effective in the future. He explained how the inclusion of an appropriated storage facility allows for an increase in auto-consumption, but also gives rise to many unforeseen possibilities of economy.
- Quentin Renoy / From decentralized power generation in developing countris to developed countries
Quentin Renoy, Product Manager at Tractebel, presented existing decentralized power generation systems and drew a picture of the current trends and market developments of decentralized power generation and storage assets in developing countries.
- Richard Delahay / #WhatBrandsWant – Brand perspectives on biomaterials
Sustainability Consult has deep insight into the challenges facing the industry. Richard Delahay, CEO, presented the results of their recent #WhatBrandsWant survey which looks at the key factors shaping the brand-biomaterials relationship, with the goal of helping the bio-based industry better understand what brands want. The presentation offered insight on the driving forces and barriers affecting market growth in the bio-based materials sector.
- Ayse Asatekin / Decreasing the impact of chemical manufacturing through more efficient separation
Membranes are a crucial, green and energy-efficient technology for water treatment and biomanufacturing, yet they have been made out of the same materials for decades. Ayse Asatekin, professor at Tufts University, explained how they aim to develop membranes that operate more efficiently, last longer, and address new challenges by designing self-assembling polymers.
- Viridiana Leitao / Green chemistry and industrial biotechnology at the National Institute of Technology: Initiatives on biomass and agro-industrial residue conversion
Viridiana Leitao, Senior Researcher at the National Institute of Technology (Brazil), presented NIT’s work on green chemistry and industrial biotechnology. Brazil is one of the largest producers of agricultural residues in the world and the use of renewable sources for producing fuels, chemicals and materials is a strategic opportunity for the country.
- Jurgen Vermeulen / Are the circular and sharing economies actually good from an environment and employment perspective?
Jurgen Vermeulen, Senior Consultant at Trinomics, presented different aspects of the sharing economy, with examples of emerging sharing platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Peerby, etc. Do these new economic activities really impact our society in a positive way? He discussed this issue in terms of two projects that Trinomics recently completed for the European Commission (DG Environment) on the impact of the circular economy on the labour market in the EU and establishing the environmental potential of the sharing economy within the EU.
- Hélène De Vestele / How to teach the necessary changes while moving past the awareness stage?
Hélène, Founder at Edeni, presented this unique program she created which could revolutionize our daily lives in 6 weeks. The impact of our individual and collective power is much greater than imagined when we make the effort to learn and take action. Hélène has had no more than one liter of annual waste since 2016.