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We want to connect people and knowledge to create innovations that sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of companies and the wellbeing of society. Successful innovations that result in solutions for societal issues are only possible through collaboration. We want to expand the use of both public-private and public-public partnerships as powerful means to achieve impact, and we foresee an increasing role for ourselves in shaping and taking part in these innovative initiatives.
The Netherlands wants to get rid of natural gas consumption. Sustainable heat networks are an alternative to heat homes and buildings. This makes them an important link in achieving the objectives of the climate agreement and reducing CO2 emissions. Such systems must be reliable, durable and affordable. Cooperation from the heat chain is necessary to be able to accelerate and upscale sustainable heat networks. Previously, companies, private individuals and the government worked separately on pieces of the solution.
All links in the heat sector have now been brought together in the WarmingUP project: from heat suppliers to municipalities and water boards. TNO is secretary for the WarmingUP collective, which also consists of research institutes Deltares and KWR, and 35 participants. We coordinate smart control of heat networks, geothermal energy and the social integration of heat networks. The results of this project contribute to enable the upscaling from 340,000 connected homes in 2018 to 1.1 million connections by 2030.
BTIC, Bouw en Techniek Innovatiecentrum, is a public-private partnership of three ministries (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Interior and Kingdom Relations, and Infrastructure and Water Management), three sector organisations (Bouwend Nederland, Koninklijke NLingenieurs and Techniek Nederland) and three knowledge institutes (TNO, 4TU.Bouw and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences). The aim is to accelerate technological and socio-economic innovations for the built environment. BTIC acts as initiator, connector and broker to drive the application of novel solutions in the design, engineering, construction and installation sector.
The built environment faces significant societal challenges such as the need for sufficient and affordable housing, energy transition, a CO2-free built environment, a complete circular economy by 2050, 50 % reduction of the use of raw materials by 2030 and future-proof infrastructure. Approximately 50 % of the material use, 40 % of the CO2 emissions and 30 % of the water use are related to the built environment.
BTIC sets the cross-sectoral, mid-term knowledge and innovation agenda. Furthermore, it supports the creation of consortia that run research programmes on energy transition, digitalisation, circularity, infrastructure replacement and climate adaptation. BTIC also provides a platform for knowledge sharing and supports educational programmes, ensuring sufficient trained personnel to make the transition possible. BTIC prioritises the need for research and development: what leads to more sustainable, safer and faster construction with greater societal returns? Currently, over 200 partners are participating in programmes initiated by BTIC. With this, BTIC contributes to the transition towards a future-proof built environment in a feasible, scalable and affordable way.
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