Implementing Bluebloqs in 4 European cities with Climate KIC
Urban areas across Europe are increasingly facing flooding due to peak rainfall, as well as water shortages as a result of longer periods of drought. The current centralised urban drainage and supply systems are separate tasks managed by different stakeholders. Replacing or upgrading the current urban water systems to meet the 21st century standards in response to climate change is labour and capital intensive. Bluebloqs is a nature-based and scalable solution for decentralised water management in urban areas, avoiding flooded streets and guaranteeing freshwater availability during dry periods. By locally collecting, treating and storing stormwater through an integrated circular system, stormwater can be reused to meet the local freshwater demand.
Bluebloqs combines innovative bio-filtration and deep infiltration technologies through a modular system for stormwater treatment, storage and reuse. Collected urban run-off is treated by means of bio-filtration techniques, combining slow sand filters and vertical flow constructed wetlands. The purified water is stored in the subsurface via infiltration wells, from where it can be recovered for different urban applications: e.g. irrigation, industrial processes or combating urban heat. Developed by startup Field Factors in collaboration with Delft University of Technology and KWR Water, this innovation has been tested at living lab The Green Village and implemented in a full-scale pilot application in the Urban Waterbuffer project at the Sparta Stadium in Rotterdam.
Towards a decentralised grid of circular water systems
To test and showcase the upscaling potential of this innovation in Europe, a consortium of knowledge institutes, businesses, public organisations and cities has received EIT funding from the Climate KIC Demonstrator Programme. In a two year project, Delft University of Technology, Aquafin, Technical University of Madrid, KU Leuven, KWR Water, Field Factors, I-Catalist, Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland, will collectively work to accelerate the urban transition towards a decentralised grid of circular water systems, making cities climate resilient.
Plan of action
The innovation will be implemented on four demonstration sites: 2 large scale pilots in the Dutch cities Someren and Pijnacker-Nootdorp, a system at the ITD Living Lab at the Technical University of Madrid in Spain, and one on the Aquafin campus in Aartselaar, Belgium. Research, led by TU Delft, will be conducted on the technical performance with focus on the treatment performance, recovery efficiencies, and the business case for the different urban applications. Workshops on design guidelines, implementation strategies and dissemination activities will be executed in close collaboration with water managers, landscape architects and end users at the different demonstration sites.
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