Umeå eNews - October 2017

Celebrating the first visible result !

Next month we will celebrate the first year of the project and I am so happy that we can now begin to show physical results and start to inaugurate parts of our solutions. It is not that we haven’t been able to show results before, but most of them have been invisible to our citizens and people that are not directly involved in the project. To be honest, who really wants to know if the project partners are cooperating well or if they have agreed on a really smart business model to lower energy cost for the businesses in the University district? Of course I am, but in order to involve our most important stakeholders, the citizens of Umeå, we need to deliver results that they find useful in their daily lives. This is why we really celebrated the inauguration a few weeks ago of the first electric cargo bike sharing system in Sweden. It is only a small part of one solution, our U6 E-charging hub, but it is now in place and used by our citizens. For us this makes it the most important part of Ruggedised in Umeå for the moment.

Carina Aschan , RUGGEDISED project manager, City of Umeå

PROJECT TIMING: Month 12 / 60


BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE

Our first Venture Café that gathered an engaged crowd and sparked great ideas and smart insights.


BIGGEST CHALLENGE

Be able to show the smart solutions that initially appear to be “invisible” to people.

SMART ELECTRICITY GRID AND E-MOBILITY

We are very proud that the public transport in Umeå is 100% fossil free! While we are waiting for all buses to be changed to electric buses, the remaining diesel buses are running on HVO, a vegetable diesel made from pine tree oil (instead of the not so environmental friendly cultivation of palm oil).

In our innovation area our fully electric buses are charged only at the end of the lines with ultrafast chargers. They are designed to operate in our cold climate with well-insulated passenger compartment and smart “air curtains” to avoid losing heat from the door during the boarding procedures. This is still a challenge at some of the busiest bus stops like the one in the centre of the University district. So many people board the bus that it creates long queues to get on and off the bus. The doors stay open long enough to cause heat and energy loss from the bus. For the people that have to queue up, at sometimes temperatures below minus 20 degrees, this discomfort does not exactly raise the status of our public transport.

This spring we put together a team of interaction designers that work with us on this solution. Their assignment is to design the “smart-electric-bus-rapid-transit-hub” that speeds up the boarding procedure, reduces energy loss and makes the waiting time for people interesting, comfortable and secure. All stakeholders need to be involved in the design work – especially the people that use the bus in the University district.

What we are now looking at: What do people want to do during the time they are waiting for the bus? What functions can be included in the station? What kind of smart ticketing can be offered? How can it function for all our buses – even the 18 metres electric buses?

University district E-hub

BRT-Station

NEWS AND EVENTS - Our first Venture Café gathering

7 September 2017 - Elmässan, the largest network of fairs in lighting and smart city in North Sweden, was arranged in Umeå for the first time this year. As so many electricity industry experts gathered, we took the opportunity to arrange our first Venture Café gathering in connection with the fair. Three of our solution managers introduced their energy solutions and the challenges they face or foresee.

We invited businesses, citizens and public servants to a workshop on Smart Energy systems. One of the major questions asked was: In the smart city, the systems must interact and "talk to each other" - but how? In the beginning of the workshop, the discussions evolved around the technical aspects and difficulties that the participants themselves had faced and how they could be solved. However, as the Venture Café went on, discussions started to focus more and more on the cooperation between people and businesses. We closed our first Venture Café on a positive note, as the conclusion commonly emerged from the participants: the Smart city challenge is not a technical one – all that can be solved, even easily solved, with the help of the experts. The challenge and the opportunity appear in the cooperation between us all, people and companies.

Malin Janols, Umeå Energi AB introducing technical challenges at the Venture Café.