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UGent leads the way in energy research with 9 new projects granted

Ghent University is project leader or partner in 9 of the 21 newest approved Energy Transition Fund projects, raising more than 5 million euros for research.

Ghent University is a key player in the Belgian energy research field, which is validated, once again, in the results of the new Energy Transition Fund call (2022-2023). FPS Economy granted funding to 21 new projects: 9 in which Ghent University either takes up a leading role or offers its expertise as a project partner. This energy expertise is mainly concentrated in the UGent valorization consortia EnerGhentIC (energy transition) and Metals (metals) and is also supported overall through the UGent Hydrogen Platform.

To ensure constant innovation within our dynamic energy landscape and to realize the many energy transition goals, academic research plays a pivotal role. As the demand for sustainable energy sources continues to grow, we see a clear and persistent focus on both hydrogen and offshore wind as promising solutions, which are both reflected in the topics of the newly granted projects.

Offshore wind has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years. But now technology is evolving and wind turbines are aging, we see the focal point for research in this sector moving towards gaining expertise in floating wind (BEL-Float), life extension of current turbines (FlexWind), recycling of turbine blades (North-C-Blade, OwiDex) and re-use of existing offshore infrastructure (MP Multi Use).

Our two hydrogen-related projects are focused on large-scale underground hydrogen storage (BE-HyStore) and the effect of hydrogen on metal constructions, in function of hydrogen transportation options in gaseous form (ReadHy). This research will help to enable the full potential of hydrogen as vital element in decarbonizing various sectors.

Another key element to further the energy transition is knowing how to integrate large quantities of these (and other) renewable energy sources, which are intermittent and variable, in our existing electricity grid. This is why further unlocking the barriers to accelerate and scale up residential flexibility in Belgium, a necessity in order to increase renewable energy use, is an important research route (InterFlex). But also investigating the potential of heat pumps in combination with decentralized storage solutions can help with grid stability, balancing and flexibility (FlexMyHeat).

More information on the Ghent University expertise:

- The call for projects for the Energy Transition Fund of FPS Economy (ETF) generated 51 project proposals this year. On 9th June, the federal council of ministers decided to grant funds to 21 of these projects for a total amount of more than € 24,2M.

Interested in our 9 new projects? Then have a look at them in more detail below.


BEL-Float | Catalyzing the Belgian industrial expertise in floating wind through academic innovation

To keep our Belgian offshore wind industry as competitive as it is today, it must fully commit to the emerging and promising floating wind energy market. BEL-Float will provide a competent academic base on floating wind, together with our Norwegian academic partners, to support our industry to tackle urgent challenges together.

o Project partners: UGent, VUB, Parkwind, Marlinks, 24Sea

o Duration: 3 years

o Total project budget: € 1,9M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 1,1M

FlexWind | Fatigue Life Extension of offshore Wind foundations

Substructures of offshore wind turbines are designed for a service life of 20 to 30 years. At the end of this period, a study is typically conducted to evaluation of a lifetime extension. This involves evaluating whether the occurred loads were milder than considered in the design phase. Such an analysis is only possible if the load history has been accurately measured.

o Project partners: UGent, OCAS, BIL-BWI, ULiège

o Duration: 3 years

o Total project budget: € 1,3M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 389k

o Contact person within UGent:


The North-C-Blade consortium will evaluate the use of gasification technology for the recycling of discarded turbine blades. Based on pretreatment of the waste/feed, new electrified reactor technology and removal of chlorine from the product can be valorized into new material applications.

o Project partners: UGent, North Sea Port Flanders, ENGIE Laborelec, ArcelorMittal Belgium, INOVYN

o Duration: 3 years

o Total project budget: € 1,9M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 1,4M

o Contact person within UGent:

OwiDex | Offshore Wind Decommissioning Expertise centrum

The decommissioning of the first offshore wind turbines is in sight. The already acquired knowledge regarding the decom value chain is fragmented making a supported vision seem far away. This project puts all the separate elements together & is the kickstart of a long-term collaboration between knowledge, government institutions & companies.

o Project partners: POM West-Vlaanderen, KBIN, UGent, VUB, Sirris, OVAM, Parkwind

o Duration: 2 years

o Total project budget: € 1,1M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 66k

o Contact person within UGent:

MP Multi Use |Multi-(re)-use scenarios for existing offshore infrastructure: a conceptual, economical, legal and structural reliability study

The project will study the feasibility of (re)using existing infrastructure for hybrid power generation and/or repurposing them for wave/tidal energy or to accommodate storage technologies. It therefore has aim to improve the yield, lower the LCOE of the Belgian offshore zone and to decrease and provide an alternative to complete decommissioning of the existing infrastructure.

o Project partners: VUB, UGent, KULeuven, Sirris, IMDC

o Duration: 2 years

o Total project budget: € 1,6M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 377k

o Contact person within UGent:,


BE-HyStore | Towards large-scale underground hydrogen storage in Loenhout, Belgium

This project will provide more insight into potential barriers that may arise during the conversion of Fluxys' underground natural gas storage facility in Loenhout into an underground hydrogen storage on a TWh scale, which is needed to create in Belgium a flexible renewable energy system without CO2, without waste and at the lowest possible system cost.

o Project partners: UGent, Fluxys Belgium

o Duration: 3 years

o Total project budget: € 1,1M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 517k

o Contact person within UGent:,

ReadHy | Development of an innovative testing method towards a better understanding of hydrogen-metal interactions to secure gaseous hydrogen transportation

The ReadHY project aims to study the fatigue behavior of materials in gas transport networks, which will be used to transport hydrogen. A new type of dynamic pipe rupture test will be developed to characterize hydrogen-material interactions at cracks and welds in order to assess the risk of pipe rupture associated with material fatigue, reflecting variations in pressure and throughput of the gas transport networks.

o Project partners: AC&CS, UCLouvain, UGent

o Duration: 3 years

o Total project budget: € 1,2M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 187k

o Contact person within UGent:


InterFlex | Unlocking the barriers to accelerate and scale up residential flexibility in Belgium

In this project, we intend to further unlock the barriers to accelerate and scale up residential flexibility in Belgium, a necessity in order to increase renewable energy use, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and make our energy system more robust and resilient.

o Project partners: UGent, re.alto-energy, Eneco Belgium, Ecopower

o Duration: 3 years

o Total project budget: € 2,04M

o Total UGent subsidy: € 875k

o Contact person within UGent:;


o The need for flexibility in the energy market is constantly increasing due to the electrification of demand and the growth of energy sources. To meet this need for flexibility, the FlexMyHeat consortium will quantitatively evaluate the potential of heat pumps coupled with decentralized storage solutions to improve the national and regional regional balance of the Belgian electricity system.

o Project partners: Imec, LifePowr, Destore, ORES, Thomas&Piron, Elia Transmission Belgium, Energie Commune

o Duration: 1 year 7 months

o Total project budget: € 492k

o Total UGent subsidy: € 172k

o Contact person within UGent:


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