Open Innovation Lab Rhône-Alpes kick off meeting
What are the stakes of the wood-energy industry in Rhône-Alpes? How can the wood-energy industry contribute to a sustainable development of wood-fueled heating systems? What are the issues encountered by this industry stakeholders? How can they innovate?
These are some of the questions to which the participants of Open Innovation Lab Rhône-Alpes kick-off meeting organized by ARDI Rhône-Alpes tried to answer. They were indeed about 30 participants – companies, political institutions and laboratories – who gathered in order to discuss about these subjects and set the groundwork of the Open Innovation Lab Rhône-Alpes’ dynamic.
The wood-energy industry: inventory of the situation
The prospective study « wood-energy biomass » realized by ARDI Rhône-Alpes and introduced during this meeting points out the strengths and weaknesses of this industry in Rhône-Alpes, but also its threats and opportunities. It shows the first issues on which potential developments could be considered: filtration, combustion chamber efficiency or wood drying. Rhônalpénergie-Environnement also suggested an outlook of the potential development driving forces and obstacles. It was highlighted that the supply chain structuring and professionalization are necessary but tough. Different ways of improvement were also suggested such as a new outlook on heating networks or the set up of a territorial strategy in order to combine wood-energy and air quality.
Dominique Jacques from Rhônalpénergie-Environnement introduces
the OI Lab participants to the wood energy industry challenges in Rhône-Alpes
Open Innovation: Principle and models
This meeting was also the opportunity to make the participants aware of what is Open Innovation. Consultants from Efficient Innovation explained the advantages and difficulties in turning to outside competencies in order to solve internal issues. Several Open Innovation models are possible: through collaborative projects (gathering stakeholders all along the value chain) that have been very popular during the last 5 years, or collective projects (bringing together competitors having common objectives), or even through new web tools enabling internet surfers to give their opinion and contribute to solutions. The terms in order to innovate openly are numerous but Intellectual Property questions remain fundamental.
Issues and challenges of the wood-energy industry
This meeting led to a discussion on the wood –energy industry that aimed at highlighting the issues encountered by stakeholders from this sector.
Themes such as “traceability” were mentioned. Knowing the product we burn is important (Fuel characterization / humidity)
Improving heating systems
Smokes filtering/purification appeared as an important issue. Collective heating systems are already constrained by regulations and equipped with filters, but firstly the emission rates allowed are probably going to be lowered and secondly the existing filters remain expensive. For individual heating systems the French regulations don’t require anything but Europe could still enforce a law in the years to come. It is therefore necessary to find filtering systems adapted to small powered heating systems and to anticipate in order to stay competitive (especially for logged wood systems).
With the new low-energy buildings, individual heating systems could also be replaced by micro heating networks but there is still the matter of which economic model would be adequate. It is here a necessity to follow those micro systems heating performance and to indentify and spread the good practices when it comes to operate and manage micro heating networks.
Consumers and habits
Many questions about consumers and their habits were asked: how can users’ habits be taken into account? How can we detect habits that disturb the proper use of the system? How can we ensure of a proper use and maintenance of those systems in order to have maximum efficiency (users’ trainings, mass consumers’ awareness).
Wood as a resource
Issues with using wood as a resource were also highlighted. Innovations concerning this access to the resource and the industry organization have to be found. Also recycling is a point of interest in terms of access to additional resources.
A first outlook at the industry stakeholders concerns was possible thanks to this first meeting. The participants of the OI Lab will meet again in September for a workshop on creativity and co-conception.