Business Developer, EnerGhentIC
Laurent Van Thournhout
Deputy General Manager, Daikin
For several years now, we have been working together with Daikin Europe on a regular basis. To illustrate: Ghent University thesis students contribute to the development of certain Daikin products, Daikin opens its factory floors every year to the prying eyes of our engineering students, Daikin sometimes knocks on Ghent University’s door for advice or we embark on a research project together.
The decision of Daikin Europe to realize their brand new R&D center for heat pump technology on our campus was an extra incentive to let our existing collaboration grow into a full-fledged, long-term partnership. This implies that we are fully committed to jointly define research trajectories – with the aim of strengthening Daikin's heat pump and refrigeration technology thereby boosting the energy transition.
The organization of all energy research in the EnerGhentIC consortium makes us particularly accessible to Daikin Europe as a partner. As Ghent University Key Account Manager for Daikin I am the liaison between Daikin and all university experts. In this way Daikin can quickly find the way to the right people and research groups within our institution ánd research ideas from Ghent University can easily be noticed and picked-up in this large international company.
By collaborating with Daikin Europe on very concrete themes and research questions, Ghent University systematically valorizes its research and makes a real contribution to a more sustainable energy system in the future.
Daikin Europe plays a unique role in the energy transition through its research and development of innovative, energy-efficient alternatives to traditional heating solutions, new heat pump technologies and solutions for cold chains (food and pharmaceuticals).
Constant innovation is a must to make Daikin’s technologies and solutions as sustainable and user-friendly as possible. Therefore, Daikin Europe decided to invest 140M euro in the realization of a state of the art R&D center. Our close collaboration with Ghent University over the past years was a great experience, which contributed to the decision to centralize our R&D activities at the Tech Lane Ghent Science Park.
Apart from offices for its own R&D, our new center in Ghent will provide accommodation for start-ups and initiatives that focus on sustainable living. UGent will have two floors at its disposal, as well as access to the center’s 12 test rooms and an auditorium. The new building will accommodate about 500 researchers. Thanks to the proximity of UGent, we can access a steady stream of highly skilled people to work with.
To support our growth ambitions, we are accelerating our collaboration with Ghent University, focusing on specific innovation themes. These include heat pumps, a sustainable cold chain and the use of the Internet of Things for an enhanced user experience and smart energy use, resulting in even more joint research projects.
The partnership with Ghent University fits within the Daikin philosophy on co-creation and is in line with other Daikin-academic partnerships, eg. Tokyo University and the University of Maryland.
“In the next years, our collaboration with Ghent University will only intensify and lead to even more joint research projects which can further boost smart energy use and user-friendliness of our products”
Laurent Van Thournout, Deputy General Manager
EAMEA Development Centre Daikin Europe