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Experiencias NREN

Creating a roadmap for a new European heating infrastructure

2016 roadmapThe Heat Roadmap Europe project, now in its fourth stage, has set out to map the demand for heating and cooling in 14 European countries, along with the potential sources of surplus and renewable heating and cooling that could be used to supply this demand.

20 partners from European universities, companies and organisations are gathering vast amounts of data to create a comprehensive and user friendly tool, designed to empower policymakers and investors to develop policies and invest in new markets that will decarbonise the heating sector of Europe over the next 30-40 years.

€3 trillion of investments

Among other things, the goals of the project are to improve energy policies at local, national, and EU level, specify how up to 3,000,000 GWh/year of fossil fuels can be saved in Europe, and to illustrate how the €3 trillion of investments required to implement these savings will reduce the net cost of heating and cooling in Europe.

Heat Roadmap Europe has achieved the first ever quantification of the heating and cooling demand in Europe, both for today as well as forecast of their future development. The study is led by researchers from Aalborg University, Denmark, expanding the output from the previous Heat Roadmap Europe, covering over 85-90% of the heating and cooling demands in Europe.

Through high performance research and education networks the researchers gain access to data about weather patterns, CO2 emissions and energy production and consumption from all over Europe, among others provided by the French independent research and consulting firm Enerdata, the University of Zagreb, Croatia, the Dutch sustainable energy consultancy Ecofys, and the European Commission. The data is processed and compiled in interactive maps of each country.

Heat Roadmap Europe coordinator David Connolly says the knowledge in the project includes a range of new data, tools, methodologies, and results, which have combined a variety of knowledge across energy system analysis, heat savings, district heating and cooling, GIS mapping, and renewable energy.

“By developing this knowledge we’re having a major impact on the heating and cooling sector in Europe,” he says.

Showing new relationships

“We can show new relationships that you couldn’t see before. For example, we have identified cities that have a large heat demand, but they didn’t realise that the power plant nearby was wasting enough heat to meet their demands. The map can inspire policy makers and people from the industry to work together: the city can identify new sources of cheap heat and the power plant can make more money by selling its surplus heat,” says Connolly.

“And on a larger scale, the Heat Roadmap Europe project has changed the way the EU looks at district heating in general. In a report published in 2011 the EU advised against it– now the EU is promoting it, due to the potential of district heating demonstrated by the heat maps.”

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Researching the sea: a collaborative effort brings together oceanographers from around the world

2016 researching the seaOceanography is a multidisciplinary branch of Earth Sciences that studies the biological, physical, geological and chemical processes that occur in the seas and oceans, as well as their interaction with the continents and atmosphere. From there, research is developed on biotic and abiotic components of the marine ecosystem, its overall functioning and its interactions with the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystem; the study of the impact of human activity on the marine ecosystem; and the application of knowledge generated and techniques developed in marine aquaculture.

The Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO)

The Spanish Institute of Oceanography is a pioneer in Spain and one of the first organisations in the world to solely dedicate itself to researching the sea and its resources. Created in 1914 by Professor Odón de Buen, the IEO is a public research organisation (OPI) under the R+D+i area of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Oceanographic research is conducted through three distinct areas: fishing/marine resources, aquaculture and marine environmental protection.

The IEO is a decentralised institution, with its headquarters in Madrid and nine Oceanographic Centres located in A Coruña, the Balearic Islands, Cadiz, the Canary Islands, Gijon, Malaga, Murcia, Santander and Vigo. The IEO shares mixed R+D+i units with universities like the Polytechnic University of Valencia, while actively participating in international scientific initiatives. The IEO centres manage the scientific and technical activity of six oceanographic ships responsible for collecting data, allowing them to have a complex permanent observation system in the ocean.

IEO areas of activity

The area of Marine Resources studies populations of fish, molluscs and crustaceans as well as their biology. The results are of great interest to the Administration (adoption of measures for the sustainable management of renewable resources) and fishing fleets. Aquaculture focuses on the production techniques of fish and molluscs and the improvement of farming systems, in response to the commitment of research that addresses a potential limitation of resources and society’s future food demand. Protection of the marine environment is based on the interdisciplinary study of the oceanographic dynamic and marine biodiversity, assessing the impact of human activity, and proposing mitigation and conservation measures to the competent administrative authorities.

IEO data networks

The IEO’s broad and diversified activity requires an accurate database capable of accommodating the millions of data items generated, as well as a powerful connection between it and its end users: researchers and national and international centres with which it shares information.

All IEO centres are directly interconnected through RedIRIS (the Spanish academic and scientific network), with a capacity of up to 1 Gbps (with a fibre optic connection up to 10 Gbps in the case of the Canary Islands centre) and indirectly through regional academic networks, such as RECETGA in Galicia, RICA in Andalusia and CTNet in Murcia. These connections facilitate collaboration with other scientific institutions within the country and abroad.

The IEO and European and international oceanographic research networks

RedIRIS infrastructure also allows IEO centres to connect with similar European bodies through the pan-European GÉANT academic network and, thanks to this, with scientific institutions in other regions of the world, making massive high-speed data transmission possible in a secure way.

The international participation of the IEO in activities concerning Marine Sciences is carried out through programmes and projects such as the SeaDataNet initiative, the ARGO project and others.

SeaDataNet is the pan-European project for the management of marine and ocean data. It has 44 members, corresponding to 25 European countries and Israel. One of the precedents of this network was the MEDAR project, which established a consortium of national oceanographic agencies in the countries of the Mediterranean basin, with the aim of harmonising and integrating oceanographic data with which to develop statistics and maps.

The ARGO project (Observation of Oceans in Real Time) is an international collaboration whose objective is to collect the temperature and salinity of the ocean’s high and intermediate levels in real time, using a network of about 3,500 profilers, distributed throughout the five oceans. Spain, which participates through the IEO since the project began in 2002, provides data from around 30 profilers, located mainly in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

The IEO also participates in international forums and projects such as the IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations), the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS), the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), with the IEO making up part of the Spanish representation in the EuroGOOS project.

“The IEO has nine centres throughout Spain, from which data related to the exploitation and conservation of the marine environment are obtained. Thanks to academic and research communications networks like RedIRIS, the Institute has access to high-speed connections to connect their centres, and connect to all other national and international centres with which it collaborates, something of great importance when carrying out the scientific work that it has been entrusted with.”  – Eduardo Balguerías, Director of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO)

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eduroam unstoppable

2016 eduroameduroam (education roaming) is the secure, worldwide roaming access developed for the international research and education community. And it seems unstoppable, expanding across countries and beyond the education community. Since its launch in Europe in 2003, eduroam has gained popularity throughout the research and education community and is now available in 76 countries worldwide, the latest additions to the eduroam community being Mexico and Lebanon. Furthermore, eduroam is expanding beyond campuses to public, commercial and city Wi-Fi initiatives, providing an ever-increasing mobile platform for its multi-million users.

eduroam allows students, researchers and staff from participating institutions to obtain internet connectivity across campuses and when visiting other participating institutions quickly and easily, without the need to find local login details. Invented in the Netherlands eduroam has grown dramatically over the past 12 years and is on the verge of becoming a truly global connectivity tool.

Beyond campuses

But the success of eduroam can’t only be measured in its conquering new territories. eduroam is also expanding beyond campuses and into public places, such as airports and city Wi-Fi initiatives.

As an example, if you’re a Swedish eudroam user, you’ll experience trouble-free internet access not only in the 10 major local airports and hotel chains like Best Western, Clarion and Radisson, but also eating your meal at Burger King or taking a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Sweden is surely on the leading edge in regard to eduroam penetration in public places. But also Switzerland is up there, offering connectivity in a number of libraries, at the university hospital of Bern and at Geneva Airport. Particularly, eduroam at the airport is a valuable service for many researchers and students traveling to and from CERN.

Furthermore, Norway is offering eduroam at its nineteen biggest airports, in a number of hospitals and in public spaces in the towns of Trondheim and Kristiansand. And RESTENA, the Luxembourg NREN, has established a partnership with a private vendor owning Wi-Fi infrastructure in downtown areas of the major cities, offering eduroam to a big percentage of the Luxembourg populace in densely populated areas.

On the other side of the globe, users in Australia are able to access eduroam in a number of hospitals and on buses in some cities.

The future of eduroam

Looking into the future, what is in the pipeline for eduroam?

Undoubtedly, eduroam will be extending its reach to even more countries. AARNet, the Australian NREN, is leading a project funded by TEIN that will see eduroam rolled out soon in seven more Asia Pacific countries: Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka. eduroam will also continue to spread beyond the higher education community. As an example, both Norway and Sweden are hoping to reach agreements to provide eduroam to all the countries’ elementary schools.

In times, when mobility and convenience are key requirements to communication technology, eduroam seems unstoppable. And as in the beginning, eduroam will continue to be a technology driver in the industry, leading the way for commercial players.

The Brazilian NREN RNP is also looking into the future and adopted a Big Data software (Splunk) to process, in the national level, all authentication logs. The intention is to predict the user behavior and help Brazilian eduroam service providers to improve their infrastructure and provide better service to their users. Besides knowing the number of impacted user to tailor a partnership with local commercial service providers.

A decade ahead

As Stefan Winter of RESTENA, the Luxembourg NREN, Lead Engineer for eduroam research and development in Europe, explained on the occasion of ten years of eduroam in 2013:

– eduroam is now a significant player in the wireless access industry with our voice heard by manufacturers and specification writers alike. We have taken the technologies on which eduroam is based to their limits and beyond, and are constantly influencing industry and standardisation organisations to take the underlying technologies to the next level, improving ease-of-use ever further. Now, ten years after eduroam started using these technologies, industry at large is picking it up for their commercial systems as well – eduroam was a decade ahead of the commercial market.

Led by the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon is currently in the process of formally setting up an NREN (LERN). Value-added services like eduroam rank high in the benefit debate, as Yousif Asfour, CIO at AUB, explains:

– How do you go about convincing R&E institutions in Lebanon about the value of an NREN, especially when the infrastructure, tariffs and political climate are all but favorable? The answer is simple – change the NREN discussion from ‘how can we build a fast and cheap network‘ to ‘let’s focus on shared services to build a community and then use this community as leverage to build the high bandwidth’. The implementation of eduroam at AUB has delivered a key argument to secure a critical mass in support of LERN.

This blog post is an edited and updated version of an article on eduroam in GÉANT Connect magazine.

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