As our main partner, VITO was again omnipresent at the Love Tomorrow Conference 2023. This year, they welcomed hundreds of guests at the Brasa stage and had many more activities to enjoy.
In front of the Atmosphere stage, six promising startups had the chance to pitch their ground-breaking idea. They challenged for the VITO4STARTERS Award, but also for a chance of being funded by VITO’s Clean Vision Invest fund. These were the companies that tried to convince the jury of their potential:
- Companion.energy: software products that unlock the power of electrification, flexibility, and renewables for industrial companies, delivering more Net Zero energy at 10-30% lower energy costs.
- W’Ice: a solution based on a new protein biomaterial, which redesigns the water-based freezing process on earth and in the sky to drastically reduce weather-related damage in the fruit sector.
- Clean Water Global: a sustainable solution for cleaning paint rinse water.
- VONKT: an independent digital platform that wants to make energy-sharing the new norm.
- CatOlyst Chemtech: developing catalytic technologies to reach carbon-neutral industrial goals.
- UZE: a charging-as-a-service company that aims to turn every parking spot into a virtual charging station.
The jury, consisting of James Pearson (imec.istart), Bart Swaelens (VITO) and Dirk Lievens (Start it @ KBC) eventually came to their decision. The chose UZE as winner of the VITO4STARTERS Award and recipient of support and auxiliary services representing a value of 25.000 €.
Keep an eye on the VITO website for next year’s VITO4STARTERS award.
Inge Genne on The Urgency of Addressing Water Shortages
Inge Genné, from VITO’s WaterClimateHub, explained her interesting perspective on water management in Flanders. She urges everyone to acknowledge the urgency, as maintaining the status quo will cause serious problems. It seems like there is a hydro-illogical cycle: a drought (which happens more frequently than ever) causes awareness, bringing concern and even panic. But when it rains again, apathy and inaction follows, which then causes another drought. Her solution is simple: we need to gain more from less water in the future, by connecting, interacting and inspiring people to take action in their own lives. On a government level, water buffers need to be activated and controlled better. New street designs need to implement underground water buffers.
Genné is motivated to bring change and hopes she’s not alone. Water always finds a way, and so do we. We need to adapt and we’ll need to do it together: one drop can’t move a stone, but 7 million drops can.
Walter Eevers on The Energy Mobility Nexus and Sustainable Urban Planning
The Brasa stage was filled to the brim for the theme ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’. As a scientist, VITO Director of R&D Walter Eevers thinks in data and calculations, and not so much in emotions. But he fully recognises the need for more ‘heart’ in excel files to motivate companies and people to invest in the right things for our future. By 2050, two thirds of all people will live in cities. Combined with the challenges of the energy and mobility transitions, this will bring new conflicts. In his talk, he brought up the question: how do we share the natural capital of our limited Earth? Proposed solutions will have to incorporate sustainable city planning, a paradigm shift in mobility, and reconcile the technological development with the social dimension.
Evening Show: Inge Neven
VITO CEO Inge Neven delivered an inspiring talk on the role of technology in the change we can make. With her enthusiasm, she wants to be an example for young people who have lost hope. As she sees it, VITO and Tomorrowland are two sides of the same coin. VITO, coming from science, Tomorrowland, coming from fun, meeting in the middle at the Love Tomorrow Conference. Her final words: “Stay a radish, believe in ‘us’ and love tomorrow!” What radishes have to do with anything, you’ll find out in her talk on our YouTube channel.
AT THE JOB FAIR
VITO held dozens of job interviews in their gondola of the Job Fair Ferris Wheel. Clearly, young people are subscribing to the idea of really working on the future themselves. Let’s hope they can make a difference for VITO and their amazing projects.
Are you inspired by the amazing activities of VITO? They are looking for people to expand their vision even further. Join their afterparty here.