Solutions on BABLE are expert-curated proposals for efficiently implementable Smart City projects. Each Solution contains a list of benefits and a list of functions needed to achieve these benefits, as well as information on the business model, driving factors, relevant legal regulations, advices from experts and links to relevant use-cases and products.
Digital Twins are used increasingly to support urban planning processes – by visualizing urban data, show-casing future scenarios and many other use-cases. In general Digital twins are virtual representations of an object, process or system that can be used to run simulations to optimise efficiency and examine what-if scenarios. The technology has been primarily used for manufacturing to test products (e.g. as of 2018, GE had 1.2 million digital twins for 300,000 types of assets) but is quickly expanding to buildings, supply chains and entire cities as digital planning technology advances ( Castro, 2019 ). Integrating data from the internet of things (IoT) with the advanced modelling capabilities of technologies such as geospatial information systems (GIS), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and building information modelling (BIM) allows governments and industry to create predictions of how systems will react and respond to real-world data. Creating a feedback loop between the virtual and real worlds results in substantial improvements of processes and impacts, with time-saving and financial benefits. The concept of digital twins is not new; for example, NASA has been running simulations of spacecraft for decades, but the rapid growth of connected sensors and endpoints with the rise of the IoT and advancements in artificial intelligence has opened up a myriad of possibilities for the planning and analysis tool. Potential uses for digital twins are still being imagined. Uses for cities currently include using digital twins to plan transportation systems, prepare for natural disasters and identify optimal locations to install solar panels. Future uses could include predicting how a disease will spread and informing optimal lockdowns and hospital reservations or using the tool to facilitate collaborations with other cities that have shared problems and mutual goals.
Building Energy Management System
According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. At present, about 35% of the EU's buildings are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient. Buildings are therefore the single largest energy consumer in Europe and have vast potential for energy efficiency gains. Currently, only about 1% of the building stock is being renovated each year. Renovation of existing buildings can lead to significant energy savings, as it could reduce the EU’s total energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%. One way to increase the energy efficiency of buildings is to implement a building energy management system (BEMS). BEMSs are centralised, computer-based systems, which provide real-time monitoring and integrated control of building services and equipment to optimise energy usage. They typically control the lighting, power, hot water, and HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems. The system monitors the information received from various sensors in the building (smart meters, occupancy, temperature, carbon dioxide and humidity sensors, etc.) and optimises the energy consumption while maintaining safety and comfort. These systems can also be used to improve the health and security of the inhabitants by controlling and monitoring the environment, emergency responses and regular maintenance schedules. The technology can be applied to both residential and commercial buildings and at varying scales from small independent buildings to complex sites with multiple buildings. (European Commission) Problems to be solved Energy consumption Energy cost Greenhouse gas emissions Power outages
Bike Sharing System
A bike sharing system intends to provide a community with a shared fleet of bikes. Therefore, individual users do not have to own a bike, but rather everyone can use the fleet flexibly. Flexible options to use bikes at different locations can increase the attractiveness of biking – and thus the modal share of biking in a city – by providing more convenient options for commuters and recreational users. For each bike sharing system, it is necessary to ensure the accessibility of the bikes and to manage the location and operation of the bikes. European bike sharing systems mostly use a dock-based concept, where bikes can be picked-up and dropped-off at specific locations. New market entrants are also disrupting the European market with free-floating and hybrid systems. Bike sharing systems are most beneficial as part of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems. Through collaboration with other shared mobility companies as well as public transport, bike sharing can be conveniently fit into existing mobility platforms through integrated ticketing and pricing. Problems to be solved Congestion Air Quality Climate Change Collision Parking Space I nadequate physical activity Congestion, air quality, climate change, collisions, parking spaces and inadequate physical activity are all ills affecting the quality of life of citizens. Bike sharing reduces land consumption and pollutant emissions by enabling trips that would otherwise be taken by private cars to be taken by shared bicycle transport. Even in urban areas that already have higher levels of cycling and walking, research supports that increased active travel substitutes for motorised travel – including cycling and e-biking – can substantially reduce mobility-related lifecycle CO2 emissions ( Brand et al., 2021 ). Rented shared bikes cover up to 10,000 kilometres a year and are therefore used more frequently than most private bikes. (and associated chronic disease outcomes)
Bi-directional Electric Vehicle Charging
Most cars are idly parked 90-95% of the time. With an accelerated shift to using electric vehicles (EVs), batteries of EVs offer enormous potential in terms of using their vast collective storage capacity as a flexible solution to support the grid, which can be taxed with an intermittent renewable energy supply. Bi-directional electric vehicle charging (V2X) refers to EV chargers that allow not only for charging the battery of the EV but also for taking energy from the car battery and pushing it back to the grid when needed. There are two primary receivers of power from an EV: the grid (V2G) and the electricity from a home or building (V2H). Bi-directional charging creates greater synergy between the clean transport sector and renewable energy sources, as the car batteries can store excess energy created by variable renewable sources, such as wind and solar, and then provide power to the grid or home when demand is high or energy production is low. This reduces curtailment, lowers the need for grid infrastructure investments and allows for higher renewable energy integration. In addition, V2H charging can act as an emergency power source during power outages, and V2G can provide vehicle owners with extra income through arbitrage of time-variable energy prices. Problems to be solved Grid congestion Growing energy consumption Fluctuating generation of renewables Uneven peaks in energy usage
Energy Storage Systems
Global energy demand has risen sharply over the past decade. Economic growth, population growth and the industrialisation of developing countries are among the reasons for this. This energy demand should be covered as stably and sustainably as possible and with renewable energies ( Proton OnSite, 2016 ). Variable electricity generation is a common phenomenon when dealing with renewable resources e.g. wind and sun. Thus, there can be a mismatch between the energy generated and the consumption patterns, leading to the fact that the energy is not necessarily produced at the time it is needed. Furthermore, due to the decentralised and widespread energy generation by renewable sources, the energy is not necessarily produced in places with demand. Storage capacities decouple energy production and consumption and thus can support to balance the system by storing energy that is currently available but not needed, for later use ( Distributed Control Methods and Cyber Security Issues in Microgrids, 2020 ). Problems to be solved Indirect by increased renewable energy integration: Fossil-fuel energy production Carbon emissions Detrimental air quality Fossil-fuel dependency Directly through storage solutions: Voltage and frequency regulation Grid instability Geographical imbalances Peak shaving Efficiency of renewables Utilisation rate of renewable production
Microgrids are smaller-scale versions of a local centralised electricity system - a.k.a. a macrogrid - and are equipped with control capabilities that allow them to operate in tandem with the local macrogrid, or autonomously on a stand-alone basis. As such, microgrids have existed for decades powering industrial sites, military bases, campuses and critical facilities such as hospitals, primarily using fossil-fuel-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and reciprocating engine generators. However, many cities are now interested in microgrid systems that can better integrate renewable generation resources and various energy loads, serve multiple users and/or meet environmental or emergency responses. Microgrids can bring several benefits to the environment, utility operators and customers; benefits that are especially important for cities as they strive to create smart, safe, and liveable communities with thriving economies. Considering local priorities and challenges, municipalities have three good reasons to pursue microgrids: Microgrids contribute to reducing GHG emissions and help cities meet their climate goals by: Fostering the integration and aggregation of renewable energy sources, thanks to their ability to balance energy production and usage within the microgrid through distributed, controllable generation and storage (e.g. CHP, thermal storage or fuel cells). Harnessing energy that would otherwise be wasted (e.g. electricity transmission losses or waste heat from energy production), thanks to the proximity of where energy is generated and where it is needed. Microgrids can strengthen and increase resilience of the central grid by: Increasing the system-wide reliability and efficiency, as they help reduce or manage energy demand whilst alleviating grid congestion, thanks to their ability to isolate and take over local energy demand autonomously. Reducing grid vulnerability by coping with impending power outages and safeguarding against potential cyberattacks on energy infrastructure. Sustaining energy service during emergencies or natural disasters, especially for critical public services, and helping the macrogrid recover from system outages. Microgrids can better serve the community and enhance local economy by: Keeping electricity tariffs under control thanks to more efficient and cost-effective grid management, greater use of valuable wasted energy and/or reduced investments in additional energy capacity or transmission infrastructure. Favouring the competitiveness of municipalities, as these can offer low energy costs and elevated levels of reliability that may attract new business and jobs, especially industries highly sensitive to power outages (e.g. data centres, research facilities, etc.). Ensuring power reliability for isolated or hard-to-serve communities by providing clean, reliable, and resilient energy in a cost-effective way. Constituting an ideal way to integrate renewable resources on the community level and allow for customer participation in the electricity enterprise. Problems to be solved Energy costs Carbon emissions Energy losses Unreliable energy supply Increasing energy demandy Ageing, weak and absent infrastructure