BlueAcademy on water, impact & start ups

Today we will host a last minute BlueAcademy on water pioneering, impact producing, social entrepreneurship and start ups, together with our guest Ari Eisenstat. Ari is the founder of Draemventures and an International Chamber of Commerce representative for the United Nations.

Program

15:00-15:15 Rutger de Graaf on Blue21

15:15-15:30 Alexander van der Touw on YES!Delft

15:30-16:30 Talk Ari Eisenstat and Q&A

16:30 Drinks!

 

Are you a socially, technically or environmentally conscious start up?

Feel free to join! Reserve a seat

 

 

 

Blue Revolution Brainstorm #1!

What does the blue revolution mean to you? And what could you do to accelerate it? We talk about these questions on a daily basis, but last week we invited our expert network of water pioneers to brainstorm together with us – in real life.

Together we came up with multiple ideas – varying from rethinking our own eco-system to building a proof of concept in the Netherlands. Also, several challenges were identified, like current legislation, being the first to take the risk and people’s perception towards floating and towards change.

Opportunities predominated the brainstorm though. Like how floating development can offer low costs solutions for the urban poor and stimulate the local economy of land-based cities. For example by creating short stay floating co-work spaces, eco tourism facilities and inspiring icons to celebrate the history of crazy-Dutch-water-engineering.

So what’s next? We all can’t wait to work out a business case on a floating development project we can work on together – with as much (international) water pioneers as possible. This will be the subject of our next brainstorm so we will keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you have a great idea to accelerate the blue revolution, feel free to leave us a message. Or get inspired first by this video-message by Joe Quirk, Communications Director at Seasteading and aquapreneur at heart, who thinks we should build a floating Venice of the Dutch…(!)

Groepsfoto Blue Revolution Brainstorm

 

 

 

The Battle of Engineers against Climate Change

The battle against climate change will be a race against the clock. Engineers will have to fight on two fronts. The first front is the transition towards a sustainable energy system. The second front is the protection of the population against sea level rise, floods, droughts and heat waves.

Wake-up calls
Climate change is happening right now and at a frightening speed, especially in the Arctic. To underpin the need for action, I share three wake-up calls:

  1. The Arctic is melting

Video: Time-lapse video showing the relative age of Arctic ice week-by-week from January 1990 until September 2015. Source: NOAA.

  1. Temperature records are broken all over the world

Animation: Global temperatures from 1850 to 2016, by Ed Hawkins, climate scientist in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading.

  1. Scientists warn for a dramatic sea level rise

They do so in this article in Nature: The collapse of the Antarctic ice-sheet.

Engineers in the forefront
We can’t afford to ignore the warning signs. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to get climate change under control. After long negotiations, world leaders have agreed on action at the Paris climate summit. Now it’s up to the engineers to develop ambitious plans and innovative solutions.

Towards 100% sustainable energy
In theory, the area of all solar panels that are needed to power the world is a small percentage of the surface of the earth. In reality, where humans live, the earth is already covered with farmland, houses and industries. Furthermore, solar energy must either be stored during the night, or be supplemented by other energy sources.

We need to find more places to host solar panels, wind-farms and biomass production plants. Increasingly, reservoirs, seas and oceans are regarded as the place to be.

“Water systems will play a vital role in the production of sustainable energy”

Many reservoirs in rivers are already in use for hydro-power production and the temporary storage of excess energy. Offshore wind turbines produce electricity for coastal cities. The rough conditions at sea require a robust design of the constructions. Floating wind-farms are the latest development in the offshore wind industry.

Floating Windfarm Deltares

Simulation of floating wind turbines, by Bo Paulsen and Niek Bruinsma, Deltares.

Yet there is more to explore at sea, such as tidal energy, wave energy and biomass production. Seaweeds and algae grow on solar energy and consume the greenhouse gas CO2. A good combination, as Blue21 indicated in their call for action. The seaweeds and algae can be used to produce biofuels, chemicals and food.

Let’s think big about the opportunities at sea. The combination of seaweed farms with wind-farms, former oil platforms and industrial facilities might be very effective. At such an offshore energy plant, biomass can be processed and energy stored, before it is transported to the shore.

Wave and seaweed

Energy sources of the future: seaweed and waves. Image by Alan Robb.

Adaptation to climate change
Even if we could switch to 100% sustainable energy overnight, the climate will continue to change, due to past emissions of greenhouse gases. Sea levels will rise, and the frequency of floods, droughts and heat waves will increase.

Engineers can design technical solutions to these problems. Coastal cities can build dikes and structures to prevent flooding. Nowadays, smart dikes are equipped with sensors that give continuous feedback on the actual state of the dike.

“Investments in flood defences for an uncertain future must be well-founded”

In delta areas, there is a complex combination of factors at play. Sea level rise and land subsidence, floods and droughts, urbanisation and technological progress account for an uncertain future.

Adaptive delta planning is a new method to design a roadmap to the future. The roadmap shows the signposts that trigger policy actions. The improvement of a flood defence system will be triggered when sea level, land subsidence or population growth exceed a certain threshold.

Video: Adaptive delta planning, by Deltares.

Conclusion
Climate scientists have been warning us for decades. The Paris climate agreement made clear that the political leaders are ready for action. More than ever, engineers will have to show what they are capable of and develop sustainable solutions. Climate change is the challenge of our generation.

Joost Icke, software manager at Deltares and environmental engineer.

Further reading on engineering:

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn
Image credit for the picture above this post: Martin Fuchs.

Rotterdam presents Resilience Strategy

On May 19, 2016, the city of Rotterdam released its Resilience Strategy. A resilient city is a city that is able to recover quickly from an incident, crisis or setback, and to come out stronger. The Strategy is outlining its plan to use initiatives including a circular economy, a climate change panel, and resilience education to address the city’s challenges.

Moderated by Paula Verhoeven (Director Urban Development Rotterdam) the event was kicked off by mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and included inspiring talks by Michael Berkowitz (President at 100 Resilient Cities), Arnoud Molenaar (Chief Resilient Officer Rotterdam) and George Brugmans (President IABR).

Visit Resilient Rotterdam or take a look at Rotterdam’s journey to resilience

Source image: www.100resilientcities.org

 

 

 

Rotterdam #1 in Sustainable Cities Water Index

Which cities are best placed to harness water for future succes? This research conducted by Arcadis is a must read for all water pioneers around the world.

Some of the findings are that ‘European cities lead the way on the overall sustainability of their water systems and management, holding seven of the top ten places, with Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Amsterdam taking the top three rankings. However the low placings of cities like London (21st) and Rome (28th) show that additional investment is needed elsewhere in Europe. Overall, cities need to make greater investment to improve their resiliency to extreme weather events and unforeseen water shortages.’

Dive into the findings or read the full report

 

Present @Adaptation Futures

This week (10-13 May) Rotterdam hosts the 4th International Climate Change Adaptation Conference , the biennial conference of the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA).

Tomorrow our architect Barbara Dal Bo Zanon will present her research on the design of floating developments based on ecology and living systems principles:

Designing a climate resilient future
Theme 1. Cities and infrastructure
May 12th, 08.45 – 10.30
Goudriaan Room
See full programme (page 199)

You can still register on site (payment: cash or credit card). Find out more at www.adaptationfutures2016.org.

Registered? You can also pay a visit to our Indymo-drone expert Rui Pedroso de Lima at the VP Delta stand!

This floating villa is real

‘Dubai’s crazy awesome floating villas now exist in real life’. That was the heading on Huffington Post this month. At first they were a little bit skeptical, because ‘the rendered photos looked too good to be true’. So were we, but it is. Here’s a video of the construction of the floating Seahorse. You can find more pictures and video’s here.

We think this is a very interesting example of floating development, because it provides a habitat both for humans as well as for life below the water surface. We’re really curious to see how the artificial coral reef will evolve and how nature beneath and above the water surface will respond to the villa. So we would advice to have this monitored and researched to further improve floating development with a positive impact on our planet.

Floating Seahorse II

Credits photos: Kleindienst

Quote wondered: what happened since 2011?

Quote – a Dutch magazine on business and lifestyle – wondered what happened to the entrepreneurs who pitched their business five years ago. Amongst them was our architect Bart Roeffen who pitched for DeltaSync

Bart: “We raised the money we needed to do research, but our pitch was actually very naive. We asked to invest in a concept, but investors want to invest in a product. Or in our case, in a real estate project on a specific location. Our company DeltaSync is doing really well though. We raised funds and work for several cities in the Netherlands and abroad.”

The timing of the pitch five years ago had to do with the Floating Pavilion in the Rijnhaven in Rotterdam, realized by DeltaSync. Bart: “That was a great succes because that was at the time when people were getting more aware of climate change. We wanted to take advantage of this momentum. We noticed quite quickly though that there were a lot of obstacles due to Dutch laws and regulations. Thats why we focused on other countries as well, where there are huge possibilities.”

“Overall, I’m still convinced that we have to look at the possibilities on the water, because we are devastating the earth right now. And with that I don’t mean land reclamation like in Dubai, which is irresponsible from a ecological point of view.”

Bart concludes with an interesting fact for potential investors: “Right now building on the water is 10% to 20% more expensive, but this is largely compensated by the price of water plots, which is lower than the price of land.”

Foto Bart Quote II

Credits text & photo Quote-article: Sander Schimmelpenninck & Aafke Holwerda

Dutch Water Sector calls for a Blue Revolution!

Great news: the Dutch Water Sector in the Netherlands is convinced as well that it’s time for a Blue Revolution to meet the challenges the world is facing today. Their blog is an open call to the Netherlands to take the lead in this.

The Dutch Water Sector is one of the nine Top Sectors in the Netherlands, a unique form of collaboration designed to promote innovation, to attract talent and to ensure a solid position for the sectors in the international context.

The blog of the Dutch Water Sector is based on our vision on the future of cities and mentions figures about the research we’ve done, like the fact that we only need 1% of the oceans to stay within a 2°C temperature rise. It also refers to our seven reasons why our future is on the water.

Ten years ago we started doing research on floating cities. Four years ago we presented our vision on a blue revolution. Today the Dutch Water Sector is adopting it. Thank you, let’s build a better future!

 

Is our future at sea?

Journalist Sanne Bloemink explores this question in De Groene Amsterdammer. Her article gives an inspiring overview of the blue revolution and seasteading, with grass roots both in the Netherlands and Silicon Valley.

She interviewed Joe Quirk – an American writer of best sellers, board member at the Seasteading Institute and self announced seavangelist – and Karina Czapiewska, floating city developer and one of the founders of DeltaSync and Blue21.

Read the full article here

Nice to know: the article was a staff pick by Blendle when it was published in February this year…

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