Low-carbon smart city project Triangulum reaches successful conclusion

Birley Campus' solar and battery energy system was a pilot project for EU scheme

Solar panels on Brooks Building at Manchester Metropolitan University's Birley Campus, installed as part of the Triangulum smart cities demonstrator project

Solar panels on Brooks Building at Manchester Metropolitan University's Birley Campus, installed as part of the Triangulum smart cities demonstrator project

A €30 million award-winning smart cities project in which Manchester Metropolitan University was a key partner has reached a successful conclusion.

Triangulum was a five-year European Union-funded project in which places chosen to demonstrate technology – known as Lighthouse Cities – were used as a testbed to prove low-carbon, cost-efficient solutions are possible and could be rolled out to other urban centres across the continent.

Manchester was one of the participants, showcasing technologies that can now be achieved and replicated, in the key areas of ICT, sustainable mobility and energy along the city's Oxford Road Corridor.

Energy optimisation

As part of the pilot scheme, Siemens worked with the University on a distributed energy system at the Birley Campus.

A 400kWh lithium ion battery was introduced and 595 solar panels installed on the roof of the Brooks Building, which together with the existing combined heat and power plant can supply electricity to 900 student rooms and the academic building.

All these technologies are proactively managed by a microgrid controller, which will choose the best energy source to use and whether the battery should store or release energy.

The University also added two electric cars to its pool car scheme as a result of its engagement in the Triangulum project.

Leading city

Professor Bamidele Adebisi, Smart City lead at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “Manchester is now one of the leading cities for Smart City technologies, using the expertise shared among partners to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.

"The technology has helped us to boost green energy solutions, and we can effectively balance energy demand, storage and usage – creating a more sustainable Oxford Road Corridor.”

Energy-saving projects such as Triangulum have helped the University to rank second in the People and Planet university sustainability league 2019. Manchester Metropolitan is proud to be one of the leaders in transforming a city that has a 72,000-student population, and drive energy efficiency in Manchester and across the UK.

Locally, the Triangulum project was carried out with partners Manchester City Council – lead organisation of Triangulum in Manchester – the University of Manchester and Siemens, who collectively won the Public Building Energy Project of the Year award at the 2018 Energy Awards.

Smart city blueprint

Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK, said: “Triangulum has shown a blueprint for low-carbon, cost-efficient smart cities.

“Manchester and Siemens have proven it is achievable, repeatable and scalable.

“Now to meet the carbon neutrality targets set by many cities around the world, these projects need to be rolled out at city and regionally-wide scale to have a significant impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

Martine Tommis, Manchester Triangulum Coordinator at Manchester City Council – which has pledged to make Manchester carbon neutral by 2038, 12 years ahead of the rest of the UK – added: “It is essential to innovate and create a much smarter, more efficient city, which is why we will continue to support the development of new energy systems and eliminate the need to use fossil fuels.

“The project is a tribute to what partnerships can achieve for our city.”

Sharing 

Triangulum closed with an international conference in Stavanger, Norway, which, along with Manchester and Eindhoven in The Netherlands, was one of the three 'points' of the smart city demonstrator triangle.

Participants could share the knowledge gained from the pilot projects and it is envisaged the findings from Manchester pilot will be used to develop smart city quarters in other cities around the world, particular the Trianglum 'follower' cities of Leipzig in Germany, Prague in the Czech Republic and Sabadell in Spain as well as in the observer city, Tianjin in China.

Triangulum was one of 14 European Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse Projects funded by the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme known as Horizon 2020.

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