Projects

Philippos Papadopoulos, Founder , posted

Deep Linking Financial and Energy Accounting

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How can we ensure financial and energy accounting and disclosures of organizations reconcile at a fundemental level? At the macro / statistical level we have environmentally extended input-output frameworks that connect the dots between sectors and help trace benefits and responsibility across the economy. In a new white paper we explore how we can achieve a rigorous linkage of energy flows to monetary flows from an individual accounting entity perspective.

The proposed integrated accounting framework imposes on energy related non-financial disclosures the same double-entry balance constraints that apply to conventional financial accounting and statements. We identify the key ingredients required for a rigorous multidimensional accounting framework in terms of concepts, postulates and design choices, and we illustrate these ideas with a worked-out example of linking financial and energy accounts.

Philippos Papadopoulos's picture #Energy
Responsible Sensing Lab, posted

Responsible smart doorbells

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Photo: Daan Rozinga, The Incredible Machine

The Responsible Sensing Lab is currently working on a few projects regarding smart doorbells.

Smart doorbells are like a security camera's, but available for everyone. Always on, and owned by private parties, the smart doorbell is destined to have an impact on our privacy. As of now, there could be thousands of smart doorbells in Amsterdam, filming public space. We don t have a clear view on the numbers, and we do not know what the owners do with the collected data. Smart doorbell owners are often not aware of the privacy issues.

One of the Responsible Sensing Lab's projects is Shutterring. The Shutterring project aims to make smart doorbells more responsible by ensuring the privacy of bypassers and owners while keeping the main functionality of the device intact. Shutterring is a design by The Incredible Machine.

Inspired by Shutterring, the Lab has started another project regarding responsible smart doorbells: Challenging the design of smart doorbells. In order to challenge the current design of smart doorbells (IoT doorbells with integrated cameras) a few alternative smart doorbells have been created through speculative design. The goal of this project is to kickstart a conversation about how to deal with the presence of smart doorbells in the city of Amsterdam. How could smart doorbells be designed in a way that they align better with the values of the city and its population?

The Responsible Sensing Lab team will present both their smart doorbell projects during the demo day on 11 October. Stay tuned!

Responsible Sensing Lab's picture #DigitalCity
Philippos Papadopoulos, Founder , posted

Equinox, the open source platform supporting green public procurement enters the EU Datathon 22 competition phase

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The Equinox platform is a versatile, cloud based, framework that
supports sustainable portfolio management activity using an entirely
modern and open source approach. This year we submitted a proposal under Challenge 2 of the EU Datathon 2022 (Theme: Transparency in Public Procurement) that aims to integrate procurement data with environmental impact data. We have just learned that we have been preselected to enter the formal stage of the competition and would love to hear from the community about tangible use cases, challenges or any other input as we develop equinox further

Philippos Papadopoulos's picture #Energy
Jorden van der Hoogt, Strategy and Innovation Lead at Cenex NL, posted

CleanMobilEnergy – A Smart Energy Management System integrating renewable energy and electric vehicles.

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Across North West Europe, cities are increasingly investing in renewable energy production and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. However, the control systems for energy generation, energy utilisation, energy storage and electric vehicle charging work are currently separate from each other. This results in high costs and CO2 emissions due to energy inefficiencies.

Electric vehicles are mostly powered by fossil fuel generated electricity. At the same time, renewable energy is inefficiently utilised because production and demand are not synchronised across the city.

The project CleanMobilEnergy will integrate various renewable energy sources, storage devices, electric vehicles and optimisation of energy consumption through one unique smart energy management system. The development of this intelligent Energy Management System (iEMS) will increase the economic value of renewable energy and significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

The iEMS will assure the smart integration through interoperability based on open standards for data flows and analysis tools.CleanMobilEnergy will make it possible for renewable energy sources to be used locally, so electric vehicles can be charged with 100 % renewable energy offered at an optimum price. Electrical energy from the grid will only be required when prices are low or renewable energy sources are not available, the iEMS monitors and optimises the system 24hours a day, 7 days a week.

One generic transnational iEMS will be adapted to the 4 specific City Pilots, in Arnhem, London, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Nottingham. These pilots range from small towns to large cities. The 4 City pilots cover different types of renewable energy, storage and electric vehicles as well as different contexts and diverse city environments.

The City Pilots will utilise different state-of-the-art storage media in various environments, which are representative of North West Europe and are easily replicated in other cities across Europe. Specifically in London and Nottingham, for example, electric vehicles themselves will be used to power the buildings and depot by using innovative bi-directional chargers controlled by the integrated energy management system iEMS.

In Arnhem, on the other hand, renewable energy will be supplied to ships in the harbour adjacent to its industrial area. These pilots were chosen to represent a wide range of city sizes and environments, which are essential to developing a widely applicable system for future implementation across Europe.

Jorden van der Hoogt's picture #Energy
Trey Hahn, Founder , posted

Open Database of Bicycle Infrastructure Manuals

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500+ cycling infrastructure documents from all over the world, and growing. Cycling infrastructure design manuals, strategy guides and more all curated in one easy-to-use database.

Trey Hahn's picture #Mobility
Maria Prosviryakova, Business Development and Research form Architecture office at Architectural Prescription, posted

How can parametric analysis optimise urban design of Schinkelkwartier - the best masterplan in the Netherlands in 2021

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On Thursday, March 17 Grisha Zotov pitched some of the dilemmas his team encountered during the process of urban design. Among others, he touched upon densification and building height as aspects that influence intensity of human interaction.

Located in the former industrial zone, Schinkelkwartier is an example of inclusive and interdisciplinary redevelopment. Destined to be a diverse mix-use hub, Schinkelkwartier will develop in several phases during 25 years. At an early stage local stakeholders and neighbors of the area were involved.

On behalf of Architectural Prescription Grisha raised questions about opportunities and risks offered by water-related location and complexity due to the amount of interested parties.

Suggestions, ideas and feedback are always welcome.

Local or guest, reach out and share what you think!

#Mobility
Trey Hahn, Founder , posted

User-Centered Cycling Methods Open Toolkit

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Free, open access toolkit of people-centered methods for urban planners, designers, and advocates to make cycling inclusive and accessible to all.

Trey Hahn's picture #Mobility
Jacob Froling, Klimaat en Energietransitie; opleiden en trainen van jong top talent , posted

Jonge talenten maken het verschil

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De jeugd heeft de toekomst en wil een bijdrage leveren aan een duurzamere maatschappij. Ze snappen dat een integrale aanpak en vergaande samenwerking tussen overheden en organisaties uit de energiesector, mobiliteit, gebouwde omgeving en  industrie nodig is om de doelen uit het Klimaatakkoord te realiseren.

Binnen het Nationale Energietraineeship werkt op dit moment een groep jonge ambitieuze talenten iedere vrijdag samen aan projecten. Ze leren op deze manier over grenzen kijken, grenzen van organisaties, grenzen van rollen en functies, hun eigen grenzen. Samen vormen ze een netwerk over de gehele keten.

Hier vind u een overzicht van de projecten waar ze mee bezig zijn. Wilt u een talentvolle trainee inzetten op uw eigen projecten? Kijk dan verder!

Jacob Froling's picture #Energy
Casper Koomen, futurist & creative at blau lab, posted

Building a shared vision of the city - with LEGO!

Building the largest interactive LEGO model of the future city ever!

Imagine a model of the city; however, instead of a literal representation, this is a sculpture that holds ideas and dreams from citizens, policymakers, entrepreneurs and visitors about what the city might be like after we solve major transitional challenges (e.g. sustainability, energy, equality, smart).

What would it feel like to be in this city? What do people wish this future city to become?

the goal
A model of the city that contains the ideas that a diverse group of people have about how the city might emerge from major transitional change like climate adaptation, sustainability, equality, smart. Imagine the city from what might be and what opportunity change offers.

the form
A room-sized model built with LEGO in a public space and with interactivity (e.g. app / QR link / AR) to share the stories that this model contains.

the process
Lego is an powerful way to evoke and capture stories about how people think about something. Through a series of workshops, people from all parts of the city will be invited to share how they think about the future of the city and capture their stories in a collective model. An interactive installation opens up those stories to passers-by and other participants.

partners
finance, organisational, tech

call to action
Get in touch if you want to contribute to the realisation of the largest LEGO city vision model ever!

Casper Koomen's picture #DigitalCity
Lucas Parkker, Software Developer , posted

Intelligent Transportation System – Best Option for Smart Cities

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Growing population, aging infrastructure, lack of mobility-related resources, and inefficient transport networks are leading to higher traffic congestion, road safety, and supply of mobility services in urban areas. It has become important for cities to look for smart mobility solutions to tackle these problems. Intelligent Transportation System is one such innovative concept that enables reliable and more personalized travel experience to move around in cities. Let’s have a look at the concept in detail.

What is an Intelligent Transportation System?

Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) strives to innovate, plan, operate, evaluate, and manage transportation systems by leveraging advanced information and communication technologies. ITS refers to the use of technology to collect and analyze information related to the sector to deliver integrated transportation solutions.

It focuses on various modes of transportation, infrastructure, vehicles, traffic management, stakeholders, and smart mobility. From a holistic point of view, it rectifies errors related to transportation, infrastructure and enables systematic management of the entire transport system by leveraging a wide range of technology. It is one of the important components of many innovative transportation solutions like Mobility as a Service, Connected, and automated mobility.

Moreover, effective use of infrastructure, capacity, technology in ITS requires a lot of planning well in advance by ITS specialists. That can be implemented by collaboration or public-private partnerships. Because there are so many things that need to be taken into consideration while implementing ITS, e.g., transport modes, design, routing, vehicles, technology type, and traffic flows, to make transportation safe and well-coordinated.

What is the need For ITS?

Transport authorities continue to raise the bar for safe and hassle-free transportation for commuters, but there are other challenges that commuters face related to urban congestion, inadequate road infrastructure, aging infrastructure, road safety, inefficient public transportation, and higher energy consumption. ITS can play an important role in solving these problems and better manage and control the transportation systems in real-time.

ITS facilitates new opportunities and more transportation choices integrated with easy-to-use technology. It is a multi-disciplinary concept that presents much-needed and cost-effective transportation solutions for smart cities. ITS can:

  • Use resources and infrastructure effectively (existing as well as new)
  • Plan, design, and implement comprehensive transportation systems
  • Offers multi-modal, adequate, and on-demand transportation options
  • Enhance public transportation management and its attractiveness
  • Combat urban congestion
  • Improve road safety and security
  • Reduce fuel and energy consumption levels
  • Control and manage traffic in the cities
  • Make transport safe, efficient, manageable, and sustainable
Lucas Parkker's picture #Citizens&Living
Isabelle van der Poel, projectmedewerker communicatie at De Gezonde Stad, posted

Van Afval naar Oogst

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We gooien in Amsterdam nog steeds ons gft-afval bij het huishoudelijke afval. Zonde vinden wij! Van dit gft-afval kan namelijk goede compost gemaakt worden. Daarom zijn we in mei 2020 samen met Stichting Onschatbare Waarde van start gegaan met het project Van Afval naar Oogst.

De centrale locatie van het project is in de buurttuin van I Can Change The World With My Two Hands, een initiatief van Onschatbare Waarde, in Amsterdam West. Onze gezamenlijke ambitie was 100 Amsterdammers te betrekken bij afvalscheiding en hergebruik. Meer dan 100 mensen hebben zich aangemeld en leveren nu wekelijks hun gf-afval in bij de buurttuin waar waardevolle compost van wordt gemaakt.

De Gezonde Stad werkt aan een groene, circulaire en inclusieve stad, niet door er lang over te praten, maar door te doen, samen met een community van bewoners, bedrijven, overheden en andere organisaties. We planten bomen, leggen buurtparken en moestuinen aan, we organiseren events om lokaal voedsel op de kaart te zetten, we zijn trekker van het platform Van Amsterdamse Bodem en we sluiten kringlopen, zodat afval weer tot iets waardevols kan worden omgezet.

Volg ons op social media of check degezondestad.org om op de hoogte te blijven.

Isabelle van der Poel's picture #CircularCity
Marian van Sprakelaar, Project Communication Officer at AMS Institute, posted

Code the Streets - Creating innovative solutions for sustainable, inclusive and safe mobility.

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As Amsterdam’s metropolitan area continues to grow, so do traffic related issues such as congestion, crowded streets, and increasing pressures on fragile infrastructures. Just like cities worldwide, the City of Amsterdam is faced with the challenge of finding better ways to manage urban mobility. Code the Streets wants to support cities with this challenge by bringing together cities, mobility providers and science to create sustainable and inclusive mobility solutions that keep cities liveable, now and in the future.

Code the Streets is working on improving an already existing navigation app by adding data about school zones, fragile infrastructures, congestion and pollution. We want to stimulate car-users to choose an alternative route, for example one that avoids school zones or vulnerable city infrastructure. That way we work to towards a more sustainable way of driving and make the streets of Amsterdam safer and less crowded. Starting in autumn, we will be running pilot programs testing the application in Amsterdam. Interested in trying the app? Sign up here.

Code the Streets is an European EIT Urban Mobility Project bringing together partners from Amsterdam, Helsinki and Budapest to work on innovative solutions for sustainable, inclusive and safe mobility.

Note from ASC: What do you think? Let’s hear it in the comments!

Marian van Sprakelaar's picture #Mobility
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Simple Sensors for responsible sensing

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City officials require sensor data to optimize operations, plan projects, or measure effects of interventions. Citizens often do not notice the sensors deployed by the City in public space. Also, the benefit for the public is not directly obvious to city residents or immediately shown by the sensing systems in place. Namely, in many cases only after data is processed, it informs an action that affects citizens.

Public concerns about sensors are often connected to concerns about potential action (to be taken by, for example, city officials), and that the action has negative implications. With ‘Simple Sensors’ we address these concerns.

The Simple Sensors project, which is part of the Responsible Sensing Lab, investigates these questions: What if sensors are designed to be seen? What if they communicate clearly what data they collect and how? And what if sensors invite you to interact with them?

Modules for responsible and ‘simple sensing’
Simple Sensors consists of a family of modules, designed by The Incredible Machine, that can be combined: some modules improve transparency over what data is being collected, other modules encourage interaction, and some modules just make it understandable how sensors work. The Simple Sensors family allows the City of Amsterdam to design sensors to fit any context or purpose.

A privacy friendly alternative for CCTV
The first Simple Sensor prototype called millimeter wave (mmWave) has been developed as a proposal for the City’s crowd management sensor at the Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab. It consists of four modules: 1) sensor module 2) transmission module, 3) data module, 4) threshold module... Continue reading about the project on our website >>

AMS Institute's picture #DigitalCity
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Shuttercams for a responsible smart city

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Shuttercam is a project by Responsible Sensing Lab (RSL), a collaboration between the City of Amsterdam and AMS Institute. In essence, RSL is a testbed for conducting research and experiments on how smart sensing technologies in public space – like cameras – can be designed in a way that makes the digital city 'responsible’.

At the Lab we invite academics and practitioners responsible for digital systems in the city to explore how to integrate social values such as autonomy, privacy and transparency in the design of these sensing systems in public space.

How to know when a camera ‘sees’ you?
The Shuttercam project originated based on the notion that citizens currently can not directly know or see if and when cameras in public space are monitoring you or not. The project also questions the necessity for many non-security related cameras in the city to be switched on indefinitely.

Experimenting with 3 prototypes at Marineterrein
The Shuttercam project will test 3 prototypes. These are installed at Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab (MALL) in the upcoming weeks.

First and foremost, the cameras within this project are all part of the crowd monitoring system by the City of Amsterdam, which is a privacy friendly system. So what do these cameras record or see for example?

A crowd monitoring system works with a camera that has an algorithm read out and analyzes video images. In addition to measuring crowds and displaying those crowds in usable numbers, the algorithm can also determine whether people keep a distance of 1.5 meters. All this is done in an anonymous manner that naturally complies with all privacy legislation.

The video images are not watched by a human but are processed automatically. Only a few frames are saved with unrecognizable, blurred people's faces. Those frames help to "train" the algorithm. Furthermore, the images are not saved. Continue reading about the the Shuttercam project >> 

AMS Institute's picture #DigitalCity
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Local Inclusive Future Energy (LIFE) City platform

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Amsterdam Zuidoost will build a large amount of new homes in the near future. This will will demand more capacity from the electricity network. With an increasing demand the energy network either needs investments to expand the capacity of the network, or we can explore smart solutions in the field of energy management.

LIFE City Platform
Together with the expected expansions of the network, smart management of energy at area level can help prepare Amsterdam Zuidoost for the future, without unnecessary investments in the current energy grid. The LIFE platform offers users the opportunity to make choices about energy exchange or storage based on economic motivation, sustainability or to support the energy grid. Futhermore, the project ensures that the energy that is generated in Amsterdam Zuidoost - and not immediately used - can be stored locally, such as in the Johan Cruijff ArenA battery.

'Ditgital twin'
An important part of the LIFE platform is the development of a “digital twin”. This digital twin is a digital representation of the ArenApoort area, in which the relevant buildings and energy infrastructure are simulated. All kinds of experiments and adjustments can then be carried out in this digital twin, such as adjustments to electricity prices and rates and the integration of more sustainable energy generation. This allows smart area-based energy to be exchanged after the optimal mix has been calculated using measurement data and artificial intelligence.

Want to know more about this electricity grid-friendly and community inclusive innovation to contribute to the energy transition? Visit our website>> 

AMS Institute's picture #Energy
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Energy Lab Zuidoost

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Amsterdam Zuidoost aims to be energy neutral by 2040. To reach this goal, significant steps need to be taken. Not only do we need new technologies, there is also a need for smart ways to organize the transition, and for adaptations to our lifestyle. This requires cooperation among many different parties. Both from the government and residents, as well as from companies and researchers. Energy Lab Zuidoost brings these parties together.

Energy Lab Zuidoost
The Energy Lab Zuidoost is an initiative of the AMS Institute, the City of Amsterdam and the Urban Energy Institute of TU Delft. By experimenting together in different ‘Living Labs’, they develop and test new innovations in a real-life environment. This helps  understand what works and how to scale and implement these innovations in Amsterdam Zuidoost and other metropolitan environments.

The Energy Lab Zuidoost ensures the exchange of knowledge between different projects, organizations and disciplines. It connects scientific expertise to the urban challenges in Zuidoost and brings together academics from various disciplines. The ambition is to share the knowledge, so the innovations can be applied throughout Amsterdam and beyond.

Energy Lab Zuidoost focuses on three main topics around which they develop pilots and experiments:
- The sustainable renovation of homes
- Low temperature heat networks
- Local smart energy systems

For more info see the full animation about Enegry Lab Zuidoost (Dutch with English subtitles) on the AMS website >>

AMS Institute's picture #Energy
Guy Vincent, Tech Trade Developer at City of Amsterdam, posted

Interactive Sound Garden @ Marineterrein

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Hello smart city lovers! What do you think of this proposal for a Sound Garden @ Marineterrein?

We are proposing a welcome and open place of musical exploration and reflection for all Amsterdammers and visitors to Marineterrein.

It invites you to stay and play, to enjoy the wonder of sounds, and to discover music inside yourself.

Guy Vincent's picture #Citizens&Living
Leonardo Passos, social entrepreneur , posted

Observatory of ideas

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Solidary, Creative Economy, for Communities and With Communities!
Thousands of other initiatives around the world!

(Ana Luíza Farage Silva)

At some point people realized that they needed each other to do something other than "subsist". From there, they decided to organize themselves in something called communities in order to improve their lives and practice a good "survival". Over time, they realized that the law of the strongest could hurt and decided to affirm social contracts to live together and in harmony.

Some people understood that they should give up some freedoms for this, others did not. Over time, these communities have been forming their stories, generating their identities and dynamizing their cultures. When communities became organized, they started to be called societies.

How many societies do we know? How many societies do we live in? Within these social contracts, many have little and few have a lot. Much what? Wealth? Yes, few have access! Access to quality education, decent health, respectful housing, nutritious food and so on.

How many can do what they want and how many cannot do what they need? It is in this concern that I perceive (as several others have already noted) that everything tends to come together. The better structured places attract bigger investments that generate bigger chains that attract even more investments and keep developing (or just growing) more and more. The point is that where there is little, little remains.

Does it have to be this way? If you were a government official and were going to choose to develop a state, would you give growth incentives to regions that are already more advanced or encourage the development of those that still have almost nothing? The prudent answer may be: "it depends" ... if you just want to develop faster, it may be easier to encourage the growth of the wealthiest regions.

After all, their chain is greater and they can “pull” other cities in the process of growth. But if you think about it on the other hand, you can see that there is no certainty that the poorest cities will be fostered by the richest. Will the access ever get there? With this in mind, several concepts and practices have been developed. Have you ever heard of Creative Economy? Basically, knowledge, creativity and intellectual capital are the production factors of this economy.

In this process, cultural production is used as a historical factor in the formation of identity and income generation in that community. In other words, a new look at the solution of the structural problems of society, the economy and culture are sought from the identity of that population.

In other words, development is sought from the convergence and respect for the roots of that people's history with cultural, social and economic objectives. Discussions, initiatives and studies have been taking place throughout Brazil with the aim of expanding this concept: the first International Forum of Creative Cities in Rio Quente took place in September 2013 http://rioquente.go.gov.br/cidades-criativas/, the IV Minas Gerais Meeting of Public Administration, Solidarity Economy and Social Management (IV EMAPEGS) addressed this theme in Viçosa this year http://www.emapegs.ufv.br/ and so on.

In addition, another concept has been addressed, created and practiced. Have you heard of Solidarity Economy? The concept of solidarity started to be guided at the end of the 18th century, but it has not yet been completely assimilated to the market. In this context, solidarity economy means interdependence and is based on the principles of cooperation, self-management and brings an economic dimension to society. In other words, we think of a market geared towards people, not people geared towards the market.

Despite the various difficulties faced by the Solidarity Economy, such as mapping, production flow, obtaining credit, advice and collective work, many advances and initiatives have taken place in Brazil. Have you heard of the Center for Solidarity Economy of Tocantis? UFT's NESOL? They have been working hard on this process: http://www.fapto.uft.edu.br/conhecimento/index.php/uft/14-nucleo-de-economia-solidaria-da-uft-nesol. Many communities have also realized that they live on the job, but remain in poverty. So they decided to challenge all the pre-established and create social currencies. That is, they realized that they had to develop some way to encourage the money to circulate more within the community itself, with the possibility of exchanging it for the real. Some initiatives have been implemented in Brazil. The first was Banco Palmas, at the Palmeiras complex in Fortaleza (CE). http://www.bancopalmas.org.br/oktiva.net/1235/nota/12291. Today there are more than 110 community banks, a chain, across Brazil. Several other initiatives in the world have been taken, but it is clear that challenges abound.

Leonardo Passos's picture #Citizens&Living
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

CINDERELA living lab

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From urine to plant 'food'
CINDERELA is a demonstration plant that transforms urine into nutrient-rich fertilizer. The plant is located at Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab (MALL), and consists of a refurbished shipping container – containing a laboratory and two urine-diverting toilets – and an adjacent greenhouse which also serves as a meeting space.
Visitors of the Marineterrein who use the toilets can witness how their urine is stabilized and purified in a bioreactor, and then distilled and concentrated into organic plant 'food'. At the demonstration plant, the urine is separated by the diverting toilets after which it is treated and 100% converted to usable raw material streams: nutrient-rich fertilizer and 'clean' water.

These two resulting products: the fertilizer – free of bad odor, pathogens or micropollutants – and water, will be used in the greenhouse and vegetable garden adjacent container, showcasing how nutrient-recovery technologies can be implemented to turn waste into resources and close the nutrient loop/create circular food systems.

Toilets that 'save' urine from the sewage system
So what actually makes urine a valuable organic waste stream? Its Nitrogen and Phosphorus content makes it a good fertilizer and compost accelerator. However, as you can imagine, it needs to be treated first to remove its bad odor and contaminants. In our innovative CINDERELA project, all available nutrients are recovered from urine.

In order to achieve this, a new type of toilet is used – developed by EAWAG, EOOS and LAUFEN – which looks just like a normal toilet. The only difference is that these toilets have an internal curved section that catches liquid on and around the bowl. By collecting the urine before it ends up in the sewage system, these toilets allow this waste stream to be re-purposed.

Separating urine before it ends up in the sewage systems is an effective recovery approach, as urine makes up roughly ~1.5% of the volume of sewage yet contains ~55% of its Phosphorus content and 80% of the Nitrogen (the two main nutrients needed for a fertilizer).

CINDERELA’s urine to fertilizer process is largely based on the “VUNA” process developed by scientists at EAWAG. “Aurin” is the resulting fertilizer commercialized by EAWAG’s spinoff “VUNA”.

Why is it important to recover nutrients from our wastewater?
Nitrogen and Phosphorus are among the nutrients which can be recovered from urine. These two nutrients together with other macro- and micronutrients are essential for plant growth and thus the production of our food.

However, the current model for managing these nutrients in our food cycle is out of balance and unsustainable. Modern agriculture relies heavily on the use of mineral/synthetic fertilizers as a source of nutrients. This is problematic because both the production and usage of these nutrients cause problems:

(1) production of mineral/synthetic fertilizers is dependent on fossil and mineral reserves. Nitrogen fertilizers are derived from the energy-intensive conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia (known as the Haber-Boshprocess). Phosphorus is obtained from the mining of phosphate rock reserves, which are finite and limited to a few locations around the globe.

(2) the intensive use of fertilizers is increasing (roughly doubling) the input of available nitrogen and phosphorus into natural ecosystems which has severe ecological consequences. The over availability of fertilizers used on fields ends up in our water systems. This causes eutrophication: a dense growth of plant life that can disrupt existing eco-systems.

Circular use of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) (e.g. recycling the nutrients in our wastewater back to food production) is essential to, on the one hand, reduce our dependency on fossil and mineral reserves, and on the other avoid the negative ecological impact of “waste” nutrients ending up in the environment.

Closing the loops
The process of transforming urine into fertilizer in itself sounds innovative, we can imagine. On its own, this concept of recovering nutrients from urine is not new as there are several projects in place in which this is done. There are however a few reasons why our CINDERELA project is particularly innovative:

  • Firstly, let's start of with the way the urine is collected in this project. In many cases, projects (can) only make use of urinals. The toilets available in this project can be used by anyone, which enables us to collect greater amounts of this waste stream, without the need to change user's habits.
  • Secondly, many of the existing projects that focus on recovering nutrients from urine are limited to retrieving struvite (which contains phosphorus, and limited amounts of nitrogen). In this project, all available nutrients are retrieved. Adding to this, the residual water, after struvite recovery, is still water waste. At the CINDERELA demonstration plant, the full urine stream is treaded and reused. Plants and greens will be grown with the recovered nutrients as well as the water;
  • Thirdly, at this living lab plastic is collected separately – according to type and quality – to be recycled using AM techniques. After washing and grinding this plastic, it is used in 3D printing to make components to build a customizable freestanding planted wall – a perfect spot for the plants and greens to grow.
  • Last but not least, 'closing the loop' with regard to all the above: the CINDERELA living lab contributes to creating a local circular system as the entire loop of organic and inorganic waste streams is closed; from urine to fertilizer and water, from plastic to a plant-wall.

Larger project scope
This experiment is part of a larger European project that focuses on recycling resources and waste material in the construction center. The overall objective of CINDERELA is to unlock the potential for a resource-efficient urban and peri-urban construction sector by developing a new Circular Economy Business Model (CEBM) for use of secondary raw materials (SRM) produced from different waste streams – such as wastewater – within urban and peri-urban area. Read more about the project here.

AMS Institute's picture #CircularCity