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RE:charge at Northern Climate Summit: pedal-powered smoothies

15 November 2017

The Energy Academy Building was the setting for the Northern Climate Summit on 9 November. More than 1200 visitors from business, academia and the government of the three northern provinces came together to put the region on the map as a frontrunner in the transition to sustainable energy. Science LinX was there with RE:charge, an exhibition about energy transition.

The Northern Climate Summit in the Energy Academy Building | Photo Science LinX
The Northern Climate Summit in the Energy Academy Building | Photo Science LinX

The aim of the summit was to draw up concrete plans to make the city of Groningen and the region energy-neutral by 2035. The venue was no coincidence either: with zero emissions, the Energy Academy is the greenest educational building in the Netherlands.

The Science LinX RE:charge exhibition on energy transition has been on display in the building for some time already. Some elements were added especially for the summit, such as ice bulbs and Blender Bikes. RE:charge wants visitors to think about their own energy use, because our choices can also affect global warming. Energy transition therefore begins at home, and RE:charge makes this tangible.


Ice bulbs | Photo Science LinX
Ice bulbs | Photo Science LinX

The first thing visitors saw on entering the Climate Summit was the ice bulbs installation. This consisted of light bulbs made from blocks of ice hanging between LED, incandescent and halogen light bulbs. Each bulb has its own energy label, but the ice bulbs that hang between them melt from all the energy that these use and emit as heat.

During the lunch break, visitors could step into the shoes of energy suppliers in the Smart Grid game. Alternative sources of energy can be tricky, because how are you supposed to charge your car when the sun isn’t shining? In Smart Grid, players take the guise of the energy network and can send energy from one city to another, increase or reduce energy production and alter the price if too little or too much energy has been produced. They do this by twiddling the knobs on the interactive map.


Blender Bike race | Photo Science LinX
Blender Bike race | Photo Science LinX

Visitors to RE:charge could also make their own smoothie. The only drawback: they needed to generate the energy to mix the ingredients on special bikes. The Blender Bikes are equipped with a blender that is driven by pedal power. The faster you cycle, the better your smoothie. Politicians and activists could race each other before relaxing with a well-deserved smoothie. Although, it was not that much of an effort: an average 45 seconds of pedalling provided enough body energy for a refreshing smoothie.

Anyone popping outside for a breath of fresh air, or on their way home, would have seen the Your Future Energy truck parked in front of the Energy Academy Building. Visitors could get a taste of the guest lectures Science LinX provides at secondary schools with this truck. As the name suggests, it is all about energy.


The Northern Climate Summit was organized by the New Energy Coalition and the Provinces of Fryslân, Groningen and Drenthe. RE:charge was developed by Science LinX in collaboration with GasTerra and Gasunie. Smart Grid was designed in collaboration with the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (ENTEG UG). The ice bulbs were developed in collaboration with the Centre for Isotope Research (UG) and Winand Slingenberg (FabLab Groningen). The Blender Bike Battle was designed in collaboration with artist Rob Grip and the Social Psychology and Environmental Psychology groups from the University of Groningen.

For more about the Northern Climate Summit, watch this video report on Vimeo .

Article: Mónica Espinoza Cangahuala

Last modified:09 January 2018 10.58 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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