The next step of water recycling: how to upcycle waste-water into useable material?
On a daily basis, we use 130-160L water per house hold in the Netherlands. In order to clean and re-use this water in a sustainable way, our waste-water streams are being recycled in so called waste-water treatment plants. However, the waste streams of these treatment plants are still being digested or incinerated. In order to fully close the circular loop of our water management, we need to turn these waste streams into useable products. Researchers from AMS Institute and TU Delft will take us into the world of upcycling valuable raw materials, such as bio-composite and plastics from waste-water streams. What can we create from waste-water; and are citizens ready for such extensive upcycling processes: would you be willing to use a disposable fork or medicine made from waste streams?
With amongst others:
- Peter Mooij | Wetenschapper en algenexpert
- Wouter de Buck | Advisor Watertechnology, Arcadis
Peter Mooij (1985) finished his PhD on Lipid and sugar production by mixed cultures of microalgae at the Delft University in 2015. He wrote a popular science book on how algae will save the world, was blogger for the Faces of Science program of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, gave a talk at TEDxDelft and presented his research on national TV and radio.
In his research, Peter focusses on creating a composite material from two municipal waste-streams. Two municipal waste-streams can be transformed in a nature-based composite, which on its turn can be used to produce park benches, bike parts or any other composite product. For the city this translates to the upcycling of two waste streams and a smaller dependency on fossil resources.
Wouter de Buck is advisor Watertechnology at Arcadis and main coordinator at The Nutrient Platform, a cross-sectoral network of Dutch organizations from the water sector, agriculture, waste sector and chemical industry that have joined forces to close nutrient cycles. The Nutrient Platform aims to turn the surplus of phosphorus from ‘waste’ streams (wastewater, sludge, manure, swill) in the Netherlands and recycled them into valuable new products (fertilizers, animal feed, chemicals).
Carlo Ratti on stage at Pakhuis de Zwijger
What happens to cities and citizens when smart technologies start making their own decisions?
Imagine a city in which traffic lights autonomously organise the mobility flows in a city, where dynamic infrastructures know where and when to create temporary bridges during crowded events, and where smart grids independently distribute renewable energy sources. During this session of AMS Science for the City, we look at the future of our increasingly smart urban spaces. Together with special guest and AMS PI Carlo Ratti (MIT Senseable City Lab), we dive into the challenges, possibilities and prospects of senseable and autonomous cities. What is the added value of sensing for the city of Amsterdam? Can we create fully autonomous cities? What will they look like, and what is it like to live in one?
The use of sensors in urban spaces is an increasingly known feature in cities all over the world (think of the vehicle detection loops used at high ways and traffic lights; but also of the security sensors installed in the streets of Eindhoven). And the next step, towards autonomous cities, is not even that far out of reach. An example is the Roboat, developed by AMS Institute and MIT: a fleet of autonomous boats in the canals of Amsterdam, that monitors the environment, provides transportation and enables self-assembling bridges and other urban infrastructures.
Carlo Ratti & The Senseable City Lab
Special guest of the evening is Professor Carlo Ratti, an architect and engineer by training, who teaches at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he directs the Senseable City Lab. He is also a founding partner of the international design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati. At the AMS Institute, Carlo Ratti is Principal Investigator in Intelligent Urban Infrastructures.
In the last decade, Carlo has given talks around the world on the theme of Smart Cities. Two of his projects (the Digital Water Pavilion and the Copenhagen Wheel) were hailed by Time Magazine as ‘Best Inventions of the Year’. He has been included in Blueprint Magazine’s ‘25 People who will Change the World of Design’ and in Wired Magazine’s ‘Smart List: 50 people who will change the world’.
Which role does water play in our lives, cities, history and future?
While many countries in the Global South are facing water challenges on a daily basis, the engineered invisibility of water has become a vulnerability in many countries in the Global North. Are we aware of the increased pressure that is put on our water resources; the political power struggle and social inequality that accompanies H20; and the aquatic urgency of active policies to redesign our urban areas, now and in the future? During AMS Science for the City #7, we introduce the book and online platform 'Under Pressure: Water and the City’, while diving into the interlinked world of water, blood and money in a global urban context.
- Arjan van Timmeren, AMS Institute, Scientific Director
- Laurence Henriquez, AMS Institute, Research Fellow
- Nick van de Giesen, TU Delft, Professor Water Resource Management
- Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester, Professor of Geography
"Our demands on the biosphere are growing at such an exponential pace we have disrupted the dynamic equilibrium of the compound most integral to life: water (H20)."
Presently, we are facing a number of concurrent and increasingly intractable global crises that pose a serious existential threat to civilization as we know it: hyper urbanization, population growth, the degradation or terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the multitudinous consequences of climate change (drought, precipitation patterns, flooding), resource scarcity, groundwater depletion, the increased demands from cities, agriculture and industry for reasonably clean water, and the global shift toward increasingly water intensive lifestyles and diets.
These precise developments, however, have brought water back to the foreground of cultural consciousness, in which cities, history, nature and people are the drivers for change. That is why prof. Arjan van Timmeren & Research Fellow Laurence Henriquez (AMS Institute) dove into the world of water and cities, by developing the project Under Pressure: http://www.ams-institute.org/news/out-now-under-pressure-water-and-the-city/
For this year’s final AMS Science for the City in Pakhuis de Zwijger, we’ll dive into the complex dynamics of the energy transition. For Energy & Spatial Change we’ve invited active stakeholders in Amsterdam to talk about how the energy transition changes our cities and landscapes. What are the societal, spatial and technological questions the transition to sustainable energy raises for the city of Amsterdam, the metropolitan region and the country as a whole? What is the impact of the changeover on the living environment, urban areas and rural landscapes? How much space does the transition require, and are we able to accommodate this in densely populated cities like Amsterdam?
With amongst others
Sven Stemke | AMS PI | Associate Professor Landscape Architecture Wageningen University & Research
Andy van den Dobbelsteen | AMS PI | Professor Climate Design & Sustainability TU Delft
Pauline Westendorp | Director NEWNRG | 02025
Pallas Agterberg | Director of Strategy | Alliander
Bob Mantel | Ruimte en Duurzaamheid | Gemeente Amsterdam
Marco Broekman | marco.broekman | Urbanism Research Architecture
About AMS Science for the City
Set up by Pakhuis de Zwijger and AMS Institute, AMS Science for the City, is a bi-monthly evening highlighting and discussing how scientific innovation can help solve the complex urban challenges Amsterdam faces. Upcoming and established (inter)national urban professionals from AMS Institute and its academic partners (TU Delft, Wageningen University & Research, MIT) introduce the newest research and practical solutions within urban themes like water, energy, waste, food, data and mobility.
Electric cars, smart homes, and parking apps: cities all over the world are testing and rolling out smart technologies to improve the efficiency of urban systems and the services for its citizens. But while these digitalized cities offer benefits, they also pose some ethical challenges. What happens when, for example, an energy system’s malfunction leads to temporary scarcity? How is decided which households will enjoy uninterrupted energy supply -and which ones won't? AMS Principal Investigator Gerd Kortuem and experts from energy company Alliander dived into the risks and threats that smart technology poses to our democratic values, and how these can be included in smart decision-making processes. During this session, they discuss -together with other experts and the audience- how we can design our smart cities in such a way that we can utilize the positive effects, without sacrificing our human, social and democratic values.
Case study: Transparent Charging Station
In the program Democracy by Design, AMS Institute uses the transparent charging station as a case-study to research the way democratic values are applied in smart decision-making processes. This transparent charging station – developed by Elaad and Alliander – is a response to the growing importance of algorithms in our daily lives, making visible the invisible logic when charging an electric vehical. The display shows how the electricity is allocated between the cars being charged.
- Gerd Kortuem (AMS Institute, TU Delft)
- Thijs Turel (Alliander)
- Merel Noorman (University of Maastricht)
Read more about democracy by design here: http://www.ams-institute.org/solution/democracy-by-design/