THOREAQ: an open test infrastructure for innovations in renovation solutions, integration of energy systems, improvement of indoor air quality and industrialised manufactured shell parts
For those who have already spotted it, two new test buildings are under construction at Thor Park. These two buildings are part of the THOREAQ project, which runs until the end of 2023 and is supported by ERDF React EU and the Flemish Fund for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The aim of this project is to develop a permanent research infrastructure in which, together with companies, innovations in renovation techniques, improvement of indoor air quality and integration of energy systems can be tested and validated in real conditions. These include, for example, product innovations (integrated techniques, improved heat pumps or ventilation systems) but also the coupling, smart control and seamless interaction between these techniques.
The infrastructure, fully worked out in BIM (Building Information Modelling), will consist of three units: a technical hall and two identical buildings with the morphology of houses and equipped with redundant technologies and a comprehensive set of measuring equipment. In the two identical test buildings, currently taking shape at Thor Park, technologies and products can be tested, via so-called A/B testing, alongside each other. For example, if we want to know how different heat pumps perform in combination with different insulation techniques, storage systems or solar shading, this can be done in the different test buildings, which will also be inhabited by virtual residents.
The building shell of wood-frame facades and roof structure, also contribute to the test environment. In the future, THOREAQ offers the possibility, for example, of testing a facade or roof in which energy is generated or stored.
On to the next phase...
Although the infrastructure is still under development, it is also already looking further into the next phase. The intention is for the THOREAQ environment to take shape with other companies and become an engine of further research. The buildings will therefore be opened to partners so that they can test, optimise, and demonstrate their innovative products and services full-scale and real-life in a safe and controlled environment.
Ultimate ambition is to use the THOREAQ infrastructure to accelerate the Flemish renovation market and energy transition, shape major cost reductions and quality improvements in buildings, and significantly strengthen the ecosystem of companies involved.
Interested in being part of this ecosystem too? Do you have certain techniques, materials or combinations of both that you would like to test in a safe environment? Or do you think you have research questions that could be addressed in this infrastructure? If so, feel free to contact project leader Margo Colson. He will be happy to look at the possibilities with you.