June 10, 2020 - 13:31

The measure comes as part of the European project GrowSmarter, one of the ‘lighthouse’ projects for Smart Cities, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 innovation programme.

Barcelona is one of the three leading cities from the European Commission’s Lighthouse Programme. Along with Stockholm and Cologne, the city adopted 12 innovative urban solutions to promote innovation and sustainability in the sectors of energy, mobility and ICT, through large demonstrative projects which provide an example for other European cities on the same GrowSmarter project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation project.

Barcelona City Council’s Municipal IT Institute coordinated and led the project in the city, where different solutions have been implemented. One was the improvement of energy efficiency at the therapeutic and educational centre for young people operated by the Acompanya’m project (by the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu), at the Monestir de Valldonzella in Barcelona’s Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district.

The solution from this trial, executed by Naturgy and IREC, allows for the smart management and autonomous use of solar energy and its storage in self-consumption batteries to satisfy the building’s power needs.

The trial demonstrates the technical feasibility and lower costs involved, showing the potential for integrating renewable energy on a large scale. Not only is energy management improved in buildings, but the environmental impact is also reduced through a drop in the footprint from greenhouse gases.

The system coordinates the charge and discharge of the batteries, communicating with the rest of the elements to take decisions. It includes AI technologies, which learn how the centre functions based on behaviour and experience. This takes into account factors such as weather forecasts, energy market prices and the anticipated demand from the building.

The significant increase in renewables, intermittent by nature, and the boom in electric vehicles form the base for this new scenario. For the purposes of managing this intermittence, a storage and control system is needed which optimises energy. This allows solar energy to be stored and downloaded later when conditions are favourable, for instance when costs or CO2 emissions are lower.

Thanks to the measures in this pilot project, the centre’s solar set-up has achieved a 20% self-sufficiency rate and a 17% drop in CO2 emissions.