From pollutants to productive landscapes
- TU Delft Graduation Thesis I Archiprix nomination 2018-19
- October 2017- June 2018
- Mentors: Dr. Taneha K. Bacchin, Dr. Diego Sepulveda
- External advisors: Dr. Ross Exo Adams, Dr. Han Meyer
- Status: Presented in the Sustainable Architecture 2018 Conference in Venice, May 2018 I Invited to be presented in the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in 2019
Instead of addressing algal bloom as a negative yet inevitable side-effect of current economic activities in the Dutch-Flemish Delta, this thesis proposes a positive alternative: to capture the pollutants causing eutrophication (nitrogen, phosphorus, CO2, algae) and to facilitate processes that generate value out of them (food production, energy, bio-products). At the core of this proposal lies the transformation of underperforming crops into algae crops in enclosed tubular systems that do not require fresh water but contribute to wastewater treatment and convert discharged nutrients into valuable products. Creation of new wetlands by re-flooding polders with high saline soil and non-profitable crops is also investigated; establishing macroalgae ponds in their place may function as a model of filtration “layers” for harmful discharges which would highly reduce the level of pollutants in the water and could bring back benthic and pelagic species. At the same time, the whole area asks for a broader land use mix and a reconsideration of the rigid flood defence systems; a need that the indicated water-based solutions could most certainly address.
Since the project considers the pollutants as a major input and repurposes de facto the current petroleum-based infrastructure, it shall largely contribute to the restoration of environmental stability and eco-services as well as to job growth, new economic clusters and new socio-spatial constructs.