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How Flux50 is powering smart energy in Flanders and beyond

The Smiths already knew that ‘there’s a light that never goes out’ – and in Flanders, Flux50 wants to make sure it keeps shining bright in a sustainable way. The region’s spearhead cluster for smart energy unites companies and knowledge institutions alike to send innovative and positive shockwaves through local and international energy landscapes. “We particularly look for ways to use clean energy as a driver of economic growth,” explains Frederik Loeckx, general director of Flux50.

Flux50 doesn’t just focus on energy production. Transport, efficient energy use and the required supportive IT infrastructure are also priorities for this bundle of energy experts and specialists. To tackle these challenges, Flux50 brings together many small and some large companies, knowledge institutions and – importantly – several legal partners and financial institutes.

The ‘Yes, together we can’ attitude at Flux50

“Together, we can:

  • set up our energy system for future generations – by focusing on clean energy solutions and empowering local energy communities as well as large scale production.
  • create more visibility for the smart energy initiatives of our members – and thus position Flanders as an excellent region for energy innovation.
  • prove that an energy system is more than the sum of its components – as companies, knowledge institutions and society as a whole can achieve far more efficient energy solutions through innovative collaboration.”

Buzzing with powerful projects

The broad focus of Flux50 is illustrated by its audience as well. Flanders’ spearhead cluster for energy does not limit itself to targeting large-scale energy production sites, such as ports, but also includes small energy communities and even individual homes.

“Within those fields, we tackle two main challenges: safe data management and implementing microgrids,” Frederik elaborates. “Large- and small-scale energy projects require stable and secure data management. We look into new ways to perfect that process. As for microgrids: in order for renewable energy production to guarantee a standard and stable supply of 230V, energy communities need to work together in a decentralized system. With Flux50, we want to promote and regulate these collaborations.”

Through safe data management and promotion of microgrids, we are working on modernizing the energy landscape.

Frederik Loeckx
General director, Flux50

Frederik Loeckx, general director of Flux50

“One of our more recent projects, Green Energy Park, combines both the data management and microgrid aspects,” Frederik continues. “The industrial park is home to 70 companies and knowledge institutions which are fully powered by a green energy data center that runs on wind energy and solar power. What’s more, this business community doesn’t just want to implement an energy microgrid, but also a ‘microgrid of brains’ for both electricity and heat supply. This approach to close-knit collaboration and strategic partnerships is virtually unique in the world.”

Igniting the political energy debate

Energy is a key focus of Flanders’ government, with the goal of supporting the sustainable transition of the region’s economy. In that respect, it forms a societal challenge in which regulation plays an important role. That’s why Flux50 also collaborates closely with Flanders’ official transition manager. “We are not only the spearhead cluster for the local energy sector,” says Frederik, “we also take on some duties of a sector federation – as long as those tasks contribute to innovation. Each month, we have a meeting to discuss and, if necessary, fine-tune Flanders’ energy policies. Our goal is to enable maximum support for and use of new technologies. In addition, we make sure our own projects follow the line set out by those policies.”

Through monthly meetings with Flanders’ transition manager for energy, we aim to create maximum support for and uptake of new technologies.

Frederik Loeckx
General director, Flux50

That’s also why Flux50 doesn’t just count small and large energy companies and knowledge institutions among its members, but several legal offices as well. “Since legislation plays a major role in getting new energy technologies on the market, we regularly seek council from one of our partner law firms,” Frederik explains. “Flanders’ energy decree provides a great example. This complex piece of legislation is, among others, key to understanding the prerequisites for applying for an energy supplier’s license – and therefore, permission to be connected to the main power grid. Our legal partners advise us on how to interpret the energy decree and help us define the exact prerequisites and how local energy communities can meet them. This helps us figure out what Flux50 can do to help them achieve that goal.”

Thor Park, Genk

An alternating current of local and international evaluation

Impacting the legal framework of energy in Flanders isn’t the only standard for success, though. “To evaluate a project’s potential and impact, we present it to a panel of national and international experts,” Frederik explains. “By combining the two, we strive for an unbiased process that still takes the specifics of our region’s energy legislation into account. Additionally, we make sure the evaluation includes both economic and academic points of view. In doing so, we get a clear picture of the results as well as specific learnings that we can apply to future projects.”

We have found that the combination of national and international experts provides more insightful evaluations for our projects.

Frederik Loeckx
General director, Flux50

Positioning Flanders as an energy leader

“Looking forward, developing smart energy solutions for buildings is definitely on our radar,” Frederik shares. “An increasing number of large construction companies are finding their way to Flux50, so we’re getting ready to set up some innovative projects concerning renovations and smart buildings in the near future.”

The smart energy cluster also supports Flanders’ international ambitions. Frederik: “The ultimate goal is to create more visibility for smart energy projects, particularly in the field of new technologies, so we can position Flanders as a pioneer in the global energy debate. With projects like the Energy Transition Toolbox – an interactive design and simulation model to help create local energy communities, which won an International Innovation Award this year – we are proving that Flanders is perfectly poised to claim that position.”

Our goal is to position Flanders as a pioneering region in the global smart energy debate.

Frederik Loeckx
General director, Flux50

Flux50 members in the spotlight

  • Green Energy Park – a smart living lab and center of expertise for – among others – sustainable and intelligent energy systems and mobility solutions.
  • ABB – an international energy group which focuses on electricity transmission and distribution, process and production automation, and electrical, electronic and technical installation products and systems.
    • Condugo – an innovative start-up which developed Energy Hub, a platform for smart energy management.

Cluster ID

  • Founded in: 2017.
  • Services: Flux50 provides project support, networking opportunities and a knowledge-sharing platform.
  • Innovation domains: Energy harbors, microgrids, multi-energy solutions, energy cloud platforms and intelligent renovation.
  • Website:

More info

Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade
10 September 2019

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