New centre for sustainable urban development in Brussels

Energy and environmental technologies lie at the heart of EMOVO, a project to create a multidisciplinary research and training centre in Brussels. With a focus on sustainable urban development, it has led to the operational launch of four laboratories. These cover electric energy storage, wind power, rational use of energy in buildings, and the measurement of noise.

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Comparative testing of batteries for sustainable electric mobility. © Valery De Smet, Erasmushogeschool Brussel Comparative testing of batteries for sustainable electric mobility. © Valery De Smet, Erasmushogeschool Brussel

" EMOVO brings together high-level research activities on energy and environmental themes, resulting in a new momentum for an area which is Brussels’ historical energy hub. "

Professor Peter Van den Bossche, Lecturer at VUB

The project has consolidated research on the urban environment – mainly sustainable energy and environmentally friendly transport – at a site in Anderlecht. It brings together research groups from Erasmus University College (EhB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), under the Brussels University Association.

The first laboratory set up was RESS (rechargeable energy storage systems), studying high-performance batteries for sustainable electric mobility. Electrically powered vehicles, including cars and bikes, can reduce urban pollution and noise pollution. Researchers are looking at all aspects of these batteries, including use and maintenance.

Exploiting urban wind

The urban wind power laboratory is developing a testing framework for Urban Wind Turbines (UWT). Although these small turbines complement larger wind turbines and are ideal in cities, they are not yet common in Europe. Further goals are to optimise existing wind turbines and to design an innovative UWT for cities.

Researchers at the noise measurement network laboratory are assessing environmental variables in the urban environment, such as noise and fine dust. Sophisticated equipment enables a visual interpretation of sound/noise as well as the establishment of reference measurements in three echo-free chambers. These may be used to develop software to improve the management of the urban environment.

Expanding and sharing knowledge

Operational since 2014, the fourth laboratory covers rational use of energy for the efficient heating of buildings. Its goal is to expand knowledge of and promote technologies that produce heat from renewable energy, such as biomass boilers, geothermal heat pumps, and thermal solar collectors. 

EMOVO includes some 20 researchers, involved in 14 research projects and 12 service projects. Its results have been published in 80 scientific publications. The project also offers professional technical training in the research areas covered, with a view to promoting local employment.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “EMOVO” is EUR 3 733 000, of which the European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 475 000 from the Operational Programme “Brussels Capital Region” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

03/06/2015