Noor Veenhoven

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Noor Veenhoven, Program manager energy & circularity at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Exploring the Future of Data in the Circular Economy: Highlights from Data Dilemma’s!

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Amsterdam, a city with an ambitious goal of becoming fully circular by 2050, envisions a future where materials are continuously reused, waste is minimized, and resource cycles are closed. Achieving this vision hinges on the availability and analysis of data, which allows us to assess the extent to which materials are used, reused, or wasted. However, this data is often elusive, complex to analyse, and, in some cases, not even recorded. These challenges surrounding circular data were the focal point of our recent event, "Data Dilemma's: Collecting Data for the Circular Economy."

During Data Dilemma's, we explore the possibilities for using data and new technologies to address urban and societal challenges, with a focus on responsible digitalization. The goal is to use data to make cities more safe, clean and accessible. But what happens to all the data that is collected? Which dilemmas do we encounter when we collect (personal) data to improve the city.

Apparently, the topic of this edition of Data Dilemma’s was not only of interest to the Amsterdam Smart City team, since this event was completely sold out. This was no surprise, with the three incredible speakers we had lined up: Mersiha Tepic (municipality of Amsterdam), Maarten Sukel (Picnic), and Joris Bouwens (Metabolic).

Mersiha Tepic: Circular Economy Monitor Amsterdam

Mersiha Tepic, Senior Researcher at the Research & Statistics department of the Municipality of Amsterdam, demonstrated the Circular Economy Monitor Amsterdam. This essential tool tracks Amsterdam's progress towards a circular economy and identifies areas requiring further attention.

The monitor gives interesting insights. For instance, it shows that the environmental impact of food is four times as big as the impact of the built environment, even though the amount of materials used in the built environment is four and a half times larger than for food.

It reveals that food has a very high environmental per kilogram compared to materials from the built environment. This is interesting because it makes the total environmental impact of food much higher than the impact of the built environment, even though the built environment uses four times as much mass in materials than food.

For more information on the circular monitor and all its insights, you can check out their (Dutch) website.

During her presentation, Mersiha also delved into the data dilemma she faces in this project—the scarcity of data from significant commercial entities operating within the city. The lack of data from these key players poses a considerable challenge to Amsterdam's circular ambitions, and Mersiha's work sheds light on the importance of bridging these data gaps.

Maarten Sukel: Data-Driven Precision at Picnic

Our second speaker, Maarten Sukel, a Data Scientist at Picnic Technologies, showcased how the online supermarket Picnic leverages data. He presented an innovative approach that combines traditional data sources with images, written descriptions, and geographical information to predict customer preferences accurately. By doing so, Picnic not only optimizes its supply chain but also minimizes waste, aligning with the circular economy's core principles.

Maarten's insights provided a glimpse into how data-driven precision can be a game-changer in the pursuit of sustainability and waste reduction, and he also gave a convincing sales pitch on why you should be a customer of Picnic.

Joris Bouwens: The Promise of Digital Product Passports

Closing the event was Joris Bouwens, a Project Manager and Senior Consultant at Metabolic's Circular Industries team. Joris shed light on Digital Product Passports and their potential to revolutionize the circular economy. These passports offer a comprehensive digital record of a product's lifecycle and environmental impact, empowering consumers to make informed choices and encouraging responsible consumption and recycling.

Joris's presentation highlighted the immense opportunity presented by Digital Product Passports in getting as much value from used products as possible. To fully illustrate the potential of Digital Product Passport, Metabolic has created a visualization of the data flows in four sectors: Electronics, Chemicals, Apparel, and Construction. You can find these visualizations here.

We extend our gratitude to our amazing speakers for their invaluable contributions and to our engaged audience for their active participation in the discussion.

In the next edition of Data Dilemma’s we will delve into the fascinating world of the underground. What cables, tubes, and other assets can be found there, how is the data on these assets shared, and how can we improve collaboration? We hope to see you there on the 26th of October.

Do you have any suggestions for which Data Dillema's we should uncover next? Let us know in the comments below.

Noor Veenhoven's picture #CircularCity
Noor Veenhoven, Program manager energy & circularity at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

MKB'ers gezocht voor panel

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Ben jij oprichter, directeur of manager van een MKB bedrijf dat zich (nog) niet echt bezighoudt met circulariteit? Dan zijn we op zoek naar jou!

Op 10 oktober organiseren we vanuit Amsterdam Smart City een werksessie waarin we de vraag willen beantwoorden: "Hoe brengen we circulariteit naar het MKB?". Deze sessie wordt georganiseerd in samenwerking met de gemeente Amsterdam, en er zullen nog meer overheden aanwezig zijn. Om deze vraag goed te beantwoorden hebben we de input van echte MKB'ers nodig. We willen weten waar ze tegen aan lopen en wat overheden beter kunnen doen om ze te helpen.

Klinkt dit je interessant in de oren, of ken je iemand die perfect is voor dit panel? Neem dan contact met mij op: noor@amsterdamsmartcity.com

Noor Veenhoven's picture #CircularCity
Noor Veenhoven, Program manager energy & circularity at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

The next step for Local Energy Systems

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Thursday, the 30th of August, we had the first follow-up session about Local Energy Systems (LES) since the Transition day session in June. Over the summer Omar Shafqat (HvA, ATELIER), dr. Renée Heller (HvA), and Lennart Zwols (municipality of Amsterdam), have worked on finding a solution to the barriers to scaling up LES. They focused on the barrier of sharing information and learnings of LES projects. In this session, Omar presented a framework that could help overcome this barrier.

A barrier to scaling up LES: Lack of knowledge
In the previous session, we discussed how the difficulty with starting a new LES project is often that the information on how to do this is not readily available. Many pilots have been done, or are still ongoing, and there are definitely reports on the learnings of these pilots. Unfortunately, these learnings are not always available to everyone, and if they are, quite difficult to find and aggregate.
Lennart therefore proposed to make a framework in which we can gather all the information on LES pilots and projects, so we have a central place for the collecting and sharing of information. Omar and Renée have created this framework, which Omar presented in this session. The framework has three objectives:

1.     Collecting the learnings of the pilots in one place.
2.     Defining the gaps in our knowledge.
3.     Creating a starting point for people who want to create their own LES.

Definition of a Local Energy System
To properly create a framework in which various information of relevant LES projects can be collected, it was necessary to have a good definition of a LES. Omar presented the definition as follows:
A local energy system is an interactive, non-linear system that must contain:

  • Local generation
  • Controllable demand
  • Storage
  • Energy Management Systems
  • Energy communities

IMAGE DEFINITION LES

Hans Roeland Polman (AMS) commented that he was missing the infrastructure in this definition. Omar clarified that the lines between these five entities symbolize the infrastructure and that it is indeed an important component of LESs.
When we speak of LES it is always a balancing act. Different stakeholders have different objectives for implementing a LES, maximizing renewables, minimizing costs, flexibility/congestion, grid dependence, etc. This implies that the aspects of a LES are of differing importance to stakeholders, which is important to take into account with information gathering and sharing.

The first version of the framework for collecting information
After discussing the definition of LES, we dived into the framework. The goal of this framework is to have one format in which we collect information and learnings from all the LES pilots and projects (starting with the ones in our own network). This will allow us to speak a common language, easily compare projects, identify stakeholders and their interests, see where the knowledge gaps are, and more easily find specific information about LES.

Note: This framework is not the interface for the end-user. The framework should be used to catalogue information and learnings so that we have the information on all the different projects in the same format. We can then use this to build a user interface that end-users can interact with. How to best do this is still a topic of discussion.
The framework is presented below. On the x-axis, you can see the time scale. On the left you have the long-term (planning) phase, and on the right the short-term (management) phase.

On the left side, you can see the four areas in which the framework is divided:

  • Policy
  • Energy markets
  • Energy systems
  • Community/user aspects

The colour-coded third dimensions show which blocks relate to certain topics of interest, and should have information added on this topic. The topics of interest that have been added now are:

  • Congestion
  • Energy balance

It might be interesting to add others as well.

IMAGE LES FRAMEWORK

It was suggested by the group that electricity/heating might also be an interesting topic to add. Hans (AMS) also suggested that it would be interesting to add information about local infrastructure, such as a local heat network.

Discussion and questions
After the presentation of the framework a discussion followed. Many questions were raised which require further examination. A few of the key questions were:

  • What should the scope be of this framework? Are we just looking at our own region, or do we want it to be used on a much larger scale?
  • How do we connect to the other organizations and projects to this framework, and refrain from doing double work?
  • Who is the owner of this framework and will keep it up to date?
  • To make this framework usable for project managers, it should have a clear template that can be filled in. Who is going to make this, and how do we ensure that project managers of LES projects fill this in?

Next steps and call to action:
There are still many questions that need to be answered, and we will continue the research and learn by doing. We will start with the ATELIER and the LIFE project, to see if we can put them into this framework. This will be done by Omar (HvA, ATELIER), and Hans (AMS, LIFE). They will also create the first version of a template in which the information can be collected so that project managers can fill out this information. This will then be tested with the project managers of the LIFE project to see if the template and framework are indeed workable.

This will give a good starting point to see if the framework is suitable for the collection of information and learnings of LES projects. However, it will be far from complete. The ATELIER and LIFE projects don’t contain all the topics to properly test the framework and create templates for everything. We therefore need more partners with LES projects that can help test and develop this framework.

So if you are working on a Local Energy System project, and you would like to help further develop the framework, by giving feedback on the framework itself or using your project to validate the effectiveness of the framework, please let us know.

Noor Veenhoven's picture #Energy
Noor Veenhoven, Program manager energy & circularity at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Local energy systems challenge: How to organize collaboration and knowledge sharing for the creation of local energy systems?

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The climate crisis and current energy prices are stimulating a rapid shift from gas to electricity. This shift is happening quicker than expected and therefore has caused grid congestion.

Optimization of local energy usage, production, and exchange is important for tackling grid congestion. It can also stimulate the usage of sustainable energy resources and lower the costs of energy. However, optimization requires intensive collaboration between local stakeholders. It also requires them to take the common good into account instead of their self-interest.

Properly organizing these types of collaboration on the local level is therefore very challenging. There is a need to create a (as far as possible) standard approach with best practices and collaboration between the government, grid operators and the local communities. This challenge aims to create a collaboration between people working with Lokal Energy Systems (LES), to help them share their knowledge and learnings, and to empower people who want to create a LES of their own.

Noor Veenhoven's picture #Energy