BEYOND project: Enhancing the role of the building sector in the energy transition through Big Data and AI

Autumn 2023

The European energy sector is undergoing a fundamental change with the increasing digitalisation of energy assets and the wide penetration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as renewable energy sources (RES), smart home devices (IoT) and smart meters.

The increasing growth of DERs is continuously expanding the energy system “edge”, in terms of controllability, while increasing its operational complexity, since the amount of data is growing exponentially and “understanding” of the knowledge encapsulated in these big data will be critical for meeting operational requirements for high efficiency, resilience and decarbonization. The edge of the energy system is dominated by buildings that shall no longer be merely perceived as depreciating assets, but as active nodes of the system that are associated with the generation of vast amounts of data. Such large datasets provide significant opportunities for better and more efficient performance monitoring and optimization of smart buildings through Advanced Big Energy Data Analytics. However, the high upfront costs and the sheer complexity of building data keep slowing the pace of relevant investments and retain reluctancy of building value chain stakeholders in making the transition towards datadriven and intelligent operations.

Under this perspective, the H2020-BEYOND project brings forward a novel and affordable bundle of big data and AI technologies that aspire to trustfully take data management and analytics away from the hands of building stakeholders, offer to them easily digestible intelligence extracted from diverse building data and enable the realization of datadriven optimization functions that can pave a ROI-positive path through better informed decisions and new business opportunities arising from the integration of the building sector in energy markets.

At the same time BEYOND addresses business and optimization needs of the variety of stakeholders involved in the energy system value chain and are dependent on data generated by the building sector, by increasing their data reach and allowing them to access and analyse myriads of building-related data for intelligently optimizing their business and operational processes, through the utilization of innovative data sharing models.

Apparently, BEYOND promotes the cultivation of a trusted and rigorous ecosystem of stakeholders related to the building the sector, enabling them to navigate the convergence of their physical and digital worlds, further advance their operations and find new revenue streams, by blending internal intelligence with external information pieces which would, otherwise, not be accessible.

The business value of the BEYOND technological offering is currently validated and verified, through the release of a series of data intelligence-driven applications that effectively address the needs of the various stakeholders involved in the BEYOND-enabled ecosystem for (i) improvement of buildings' energy performance and energy cost reduction, (ii) increase of self-consumption, (iii) creation of new revenue streams from involvement in energy markets, (iv) bankable investments in buildingrelevant energy infrastructure and (v) evidence-based network and urban planning, while allowing them to explore new business opportunities for enhancing their role and involvement in the digital energy transition.

BEYOND has received funding from the European's Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under the Grant Agreement No 967020.

AREA ZERO – Alliance for Renewable Energy in Agriculture and Zero Fossil Energy

The Alliance is a collaboration of six EU-funded projects working together on solutions to overcome current challenges still facing agricultural and livestock farming sectors.

Our main objectives are to enhance the collaboration toward improvement of energy efficiency in the European agriculture; maximize the impact and improve the quality and the relevance of the outputs generated by each of the projects conforming the alliance; and contribute to the 2050 climate goals of the European Union.

AREA ZERO is an alliance bringing together four projects funded by the European Union under Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, which aim to work together for implementing technologies, techniques or strategies toward lower harmful emission, cleaner energy and improved energy efficiency in the agricultural sector.


AgroFossilFree – Strategies and technologies to achieve a European Fossil-energy-free agriculture

To feed a growing world population, the global food system needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. A shift to an 'energy smart' model will safeguard the agri-food system, which is currently impacted by the high and fluctuating prices of fossil fuels and the risk that fossil fuels may not be available in the future. The project evaluates the current status in EU agriculture regarding energy use and assess existing needs, allowing farmers to optimize agricultural production through more efficient energy use and reduced GHG emissions, resulting in economic, agronomic and environmental benefits. AgroFossilFree brings together key stakeholders to evaluate and promote currently available fossil energyfree technologies and strategies (FEFTS) in EU agriculture. The goal is to close the gap between the available FEFTS, either commercial or from applicable research results, and everyday EU agricultural practices. The results assist in the creation of policy recommendations and the promotion of viable strategies and technologies.

The project has also created a Decision Support Tool, based on Artificial Intelligence, to provide an initial ranking of the technology categories best suited for each user that visits the tool. The tool mimics the consultation process of a series of experts as if they were evaluating and ranking the input data provided by the end user in order to propose the most interesting interventions for each farm. The Decision Support Tool allows to improve the visitor's experience by guiding them to the most suitable FEFTS for their day-to-day farming use.


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000496.

RES4LIVE – Energy Smart Livestock Farming towards Zero Fossil Fuel Consumption

The farming industry inherently relies too heavily on unsustainable fossil fuels. The EU livestock sector is a significant contributor to climatic change, a driver of landuse change, is dependent on fossil energy sources, and a significant emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, there is no need to maintain this harmful and non-sustainable strategy. It is currently feasible to achieve sustainable farming that is efficient, cost effective and low maintenance. In recent years, EU policy has focused on improving environmental sustainability and animal welfare of livestock production to achieve the goals set out in the European Green Deal. This signifies a transformation of the industrial sector in the near future.

In the RES4LIVE project, farmers in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Greece are teaming up to illustrate the potential for livestock farms to reduce their fossil fuel dependence and implement renewable energy solutions. At the same time, it should be ensured that the applied sustainable energy practices do not come at the expense of animal welfare and comfort.

Sustainable farming in action: RES4LIVE incorporates a variety of renewable energy installations into four different pilot farm projects: a poultry farm in Greece, pig farms in Belgium and Italy, and a dairy farm in Germany. The selected technologies include PVT systems, PV panels, modular heat pumps, biogas upgrading to biomethane, biomethane-fuelled tractors, smart energy control systems and electrically powered on-farm machinery.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000785.

HyPErFarm – Hydrogen and photovoltaic electrification on farm

Reinventing agriculture is essential to aim for a climateresilient future. While traditionally known for food production, the agricultural sector can concurrently function as an energy source, without causing any harm to its primary role. With photovoltaic (PV) technology now as competitive as wind power, the sector is poised to dramatically revolutionize renewable energy generation. Yet, the current model of sprawling PV-parks demands vast land areas, inadvertently displacing land once used for farming. The solution? Enter agrivoltaic systems, a dual land-use innovation that seamlessly integrates crop production with power generation.

HyPErFarm brings together diverse stakeholders with a singular mission: to optimize and validate agrivoltaic business models in 3 different pilot sites (Belgium, Denmark and Germany). This innovative approach incorporates cutting-edge PV technologies, such as PV H2-production and bifacial PV-panels, into radically new crop production systems. Through stakeholder innovation workshops, public perception analysis, and farmer adoption studies, HyPErFarm aims to test the marketability of its products and gauge citizen-consumer acceptance. Moreover, the consortium is exploring new methods of harnessing and distributing the on-farm energy produced through heat pumps, e-robots, hydrogen production, storage and use, and e-driven pyrolysis of biomass side-streams. The latter not only captures carbon but also enhances soil quality.

HyPErFarm's potential impact is profound. By elevating agrivoltaic systems to TRL7-8 and crafting appealing business models, the project enables farmers to participate in this transformative innovation. The overall vision? A low fossil-carbon, climate-resilient future for EU farming that can also power local communities with clean energy and hydrogen.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000828.

TheGreefa – Thermochemical fluids in Greenhouse Farming

TheGreefa focuses on improving energy and resource efficiency in the greenhouse sector. The main challenge for the sector currently is high energy consumption for heating in Central Europe and water quality improvement in the South Mediterranean and storage of goods. The project aims to recover heat and water from the air and to create optimal climate conditions in the greenhouse. To minimise heat losses through ventilation, a technology for humidity control, heating and cooling in one system is being developed. This system utilises the absorption process using thermochemical fluid (TCF) to recover heat from the air and provide storage for the greenhouse’s needs for heating, cooling, humidity control and water recovery. In another application, the absorption process produces dry air, that can be used for low temperature dying of herbs and fruits without losing their qualities, such as smell or taste.

Another TheGreefa solution is the regeneration of TCF, allowing it to absorb humidity again. This can be achieved by using low temperature renewable energy or residual heat. The regenerated TCF can then be transported and stored for extended periods without energy losses. The developed technologies are tested in two demonstrators – in Switzerland for heating and in Tunisia for cooling, water recovery and desalination. The implementation of the technologies in the greenhouse sector will result in reduced energy and water consumption, cost savings for the greenhouse owners and enhance the use of renewable energies.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000801.