The 2016 installment of the event, was held 24 - 26 February in Wels/Austria, was almost a series of conferences in one.
A case in point was the European Pellet Conference, which was once again the meeting place for the global pellet community.
It presented the latest technology trends, updates on policies, legislation and standardization, news from research and innovation as well as an outlook on the development of European and global markets.
Moreover, it offered inspirational examples and case studies and permitted experts to share experience and develop new business contacts.
It started with plenary sessions on "Pellet policies and markets" and "The role of bioenergy in the bioeconomy", followed by a panel discussion on "Pellets - facts vs. fiction".
On Wednesday afternoon a session dealing with successful business models took place. This was followed by the "World Pellet Technology Forum" covering product and technology innovations.
The conference then continued the following day with parallel events. In the session "Pellet Market News Worldwide", representatives from Canada, the USA, India, Germany, the UK, Spain and Namibia presented current developments in their countries.
Additionally, the session "Pellet Technology Outlook - a research update" showcased pellets research and innovation projects.
A full-day field-trip offered participants an opportunity to visit a pellet production plant, a biomass boiler manufacturer, a biomass heating installation for a production hall operated by an ESCO and a sports hall in passive building standard with a central pellet heating system.
But this was far from the only conference within a conference.
The "Young Researchers Conference: Energy Efficiency & Biomass" saw nearly 100 papers were submitted by young researchers from 42 countries in the fields of energy efficiency and biomass. A scientific committee selected papers for oral and poster presentations. The papers were presented in two sessions - one on biomass and one on energy efficiency.
A highlight of the Young Researchers Conference were the Best Young Researcher Awards. The prizes were awarded to two very deserving young researchers:
Next there was the European Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference.
A "nearly zero energy building" (NZEB) is a building that has a very high energy performance and the very low amount of energy required is covered to a very significant extent by renewable energy sources. Member States must draw up national plans, covering both new construction and renovation, for increasing the number of NZEBs.
The conference began with news on NZEBs presented by Gordon Sutherland from the European Commission. The following session "Smart NZEBs in a decentralized energy market" highlighted the role of buildings in transforming the energy market and dealt with the user as the central point of building automation and energy efficiency. Smart buildings as well as smart cities and smart grids were covered. Afterwards international experts discussed which measures would work best to accelerate building renovation.
This was held in coordination with yet another event: The Energy Efficiency Services Conference.
Energy efficiency services are key for the transition of the building sector. New financing approaches and operation models support not only sustainable buildings and technology innovation but also create jobs throughout Europe.
The focus of the first conference day was on business models for sustainable buildings and examples for successful energy efficiency services in the building sector.
The second part of the conference was the workshop: "How to dynamise energy performance contracting (EPC) markets?".
This conference was organized as part of the IEE-project "Streetlight-EPC."
The European Energy Efficiency Watch Conference offered an update on EU energy efficiency policies and discussed how they can drive innovation and employment. The current status of the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive, European experiences with energy efficiency obligations and good practice examples for national energy efficiency policies and implementation were presented.
The Energy Efficiency Watch Conference was organised as part of the IEE-project "Energy Efficiency Watch 3."
Two cooperation platforms offered companies and research organizations the opportunity to meet potential co-operation and business partners from all over the world.
The conference came to an end with a half-day excursion to two "Nearly Zero Energy Buildings" in the surrounding area. The Red Cross office in Wels, refurbished to NZEB standard with EPC, and a new recycling centre built in 2013 with NZEB standard were visited.
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