Västerås' new travel center will be climate-smart with artificial intelligence from ABB

ABB, Mälarenergi and the City of Västerås are building a digital twin of Väs-terås' new travel center in the new district Mälarporten to simulate the city's energy needs. This is a part of the project "Power up - AI in community build-ing" - a major strategic investment to be able to benefit more from artificial intelligence (AI) from both a societal and business perspective.

In the middle of Västerås, just by the Lake Mälaren in Sweden, a completely new residential and living district including a travel center, is being planned. This is the largest and most complex project ever in Västerås urban development since the area of Mälarporten can be compared to a small town spanning 100-hectares and linking several districts together. The area was previously characterized by industry but is now transformed with sustainability and innovation in focus. The entire area is to be completed around year 2045 – 2050.

Under the public founded innovation project, ”Power up - AI in community building” ABB, together with the City of Västerås, Mälarenergi, SynerLeap, Utilifeed, Renbloc, Novas House and Microsoft (Sigma) will develop new digital solutions for Mälarporten.

  • Photo: Västerås stad.
  • Photo: Västerås stad.

“We need to bring new technology into the planning phase when we create and build sustainable cities. That is why we have created a consortium with Sweden's leading innovators for simulation of urban construction, which together will energy optimize and configure Västerås new travel center to provide as little CO2 impact as possible”, says Mikael Miglis, Digital Lead at ABB Electrification in Sweden. "Together we want to make buildings smart and we are happy to contribute to making Västerås an even more sustainable city."

As part of the scoping phase, the project steering group will build a digital twin of the entire energy system of the city to keep track of energy distribution, production and consumption. A digital twin is a virtual representation of an asset, making it is possible to not only learn lessons in real time, but also analyze history and simulate the future. The project team then will simulate a building, the new travel center, to see how the building affects the entire city's energy needs, taking the specific energy profile and building use into consideration. It gives them a chance to develop the building's appearance and technical content to minimize environmental impact, already in the planning phase.

The ABB Ability™ Optimax platform is used to visualize and optimize the energy flow in the building and also enables the other partners to contribute and collaborate with their cutting-edge expertise.

“This project is an investment in our future and is changing the way we integrate commercial buildings with energy systems in our cities. To meet the climate challenges, we need to connect all energy carriers such as heating and electricity with energy resources, such as solar cells, batteries, and heat pumps, simulated in one common platform. We can create an understanding of, and optimize the entire energy system, at the same time as we can create new values with the help of digital technology such as AI ", says Johan Granström, Market Segment Lead Smart City at ABB Sweden.

  • Mikael Miglis, Digital lead at ABB Electrification in Sweden. Photo: Jonas Bilberg.
  • Johan Granström, Market Segment Lead Smart City at ABB Sweden. Photo: Jonas Bilberg.

For example, the company Renbloc retrieves data from the platform and reports real-time carbon dioxide emissions. ABB's application for optimizing energy flows, Optimax, will show how the cost of the energy for a building can be minimized. Optimax will also be able to use the building to lower power peaks in both the district heating network and in the distribution network and thus contribute to sustainable and smart solutions for the entire city. The data is then analyzed to see how the building affects the city's energy system and what modifications need to be undertaken.

“We have high sustainability ambitions for Mälarporten's travel center and the new district, which is now being created in one of Västerås' most central locations. To meet these, we need to think correctly in the initial planning stages. AI can help us identify energy system solutions that maximize the benefits to society in the form of minimal climate impact”, says Viktoria Brandel, creative project manager at the City of Västerås.

"For us, a sustainable society is the first priority and what we learn in this project will hopefully be able to be applied in other areas and in a larger scale", says Joacim Sundqvist, project coordinator at Mälarenergi.

“If we want to have a 100 percent carbon-neutral energy system where buildings contribute in a positive way, the building’s internal energy system needs to be integrated and optimized against the city's central energy solutions with new smart algorithms. By working with simulation and AI, we can with data-driven decisions show a way forward", says Mikael Miglis. "The ambition is to jointly offer simulation and energy optimization solutions to all Swedish cities under development and thereby reach the set climate goals."

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com

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