Game changing technology connects Medicon Village buildings

Staying connected with other members is a hallmark at Medicon Village. Now the buildings are getting connected too – the world´s first ectogrid™ is being built by E.ON at Medicon Village. And this summer, the first building will have this cutting-edge thermal system fully installed.

Video animation: Buildings make deposits or withdrawals of energy to fulfill heating (red) and cooling needs (blue).​ 

- The world´s first ectogrid™ will also be the international demonstration site for the system. Since we introduced ectogrid™ to the market just a few months ago there has been a great interest for the concept, Sonny Strömberg, project manager at E.ON points out.

ectogrid™ allows for efficient balancing of heating and cooling. The system will circulate, reuse and share the energy within the buildings at Medicon Village. This will dramatically decrease the need for supplied energy and save costs.  

- Our ambition is that the need for supplied energy will decrease from today´s around 14 GWh to 3 GWh. This means the ectogrid™ at Medicon Village can balance as much as 11 GWh of energy and use as little as 3 GWh of supplied energy, explains Erik Jagesten, facility manager, at Medicon Village Fastighets AB.

ectogrid™ is being built in different stages. The physical installation of the grid started a few weeks ago, but the engineering started in 2017. The full capacity is scheduled mid 2020 – although part of the system will be up and running already this summer. And the first buildings to use the system are 406, 404 and 402 – buildings in the north part of Medicon Village. Then the new office building will be connected, followed by the remaining buildings in the final stage.

The workings of ectogrid™

A grid will connect heat pumps and cooling machines in the buildings at Medicon Village and distribute flows of thermal energy, that is, balance the energy demands between the buildings against each other. As such, each building will deposit or withdraw energy from the grid.

The temperature in the uninsulated grid can vary freely between 5 and 40 degrees depending on the demands of heating and cooling and the temperature of the surrounding earth. As the system operates at such low temperatures, it can make use of all thermal waste energy available in buildings and in a city. A software then uses the real-time data to steer and optimize the energy flow and storage.

- Basically, the system works like a giant thermal battery where the grid and the surrounding earth, accumulators and building frames can be used to store energy. This can also be used for optimizing the electrical system. For instance, if charging of electrical cars needs to be prioritized, the machines in the ectogrid ™ system can be shut down in the meantime, explains Sonny Strömberg.

The game changing technology is based on existing components. These components are innovatively put together – thereby increasing the performance of each system. It builds on characteristics from heat pumps and cooling machines combined with energy distribution grids.

- In modern cities there are enough thermal energy flows generated by human activity to provide the base for both heating and cooling of the entire city. But until now there has not been any solution available for utilizing all the energy flows in a feasible and economical way. We truly believe that ectogrid™ is an important part of the solution when it comes to take combustion and CO2 emissions out of the equation, Sonny Strömberg says enthusiastically.

More sustainability at Nordic Clean Energy week 22 May

Mats Leifland at Medicon Village science park will talk about ectogrid™ and how an innovative energy system can benefit environment and business at Nordic Clean Energy Week. In the same session, he will be joined by IKEA, Karol Gobczynski and E.ON, Helen Carlström, who are giving their perspective on sustainability, innovation and the future solutions for heating and cooling.

The event is organized by the Swedish Energy Agency and takes place in Malmö on 22 May.


By Tanja Jensen, science writer

Medicon Village Fastighets AB