Featured projects (a closer look)Click on the pictures to read more about our featured projects. Read about all our projects below.
Overview of Projects
Make use from sludge from wastewater treatment plants and grass
How can the value of sludge from waste water treatment plants and roadside grass be increased?
Primary sludge (directly from sewage water) and activated sludge (excess sludge and secondary sludge), which arise at wastewater treatment plants, are residual flows that are currently not used effectively. Most of it is fermented into biogas (but with a very low yield), dewatered and sent to incinerators. This current sludge processing (dewatering, transport and incineration) costs € 500 – 1000 per ton of dry matter (DS), which is a major cost item with a sludge flow of 350 kton (DS) per year. The removal of roadside grass (240 kton DS/year) is also a big expense for which authorities are looking similarly for cost reduction and a higher-grade use of their residual flow. Now, mowed roadside grass often remains along the road or is composted.
In this project, a laboratory-scale process has been developed in which low-grade sludge or juice from pressed roadside grass is converted into acetic acid (in concentrated solution) in a cost-efficient manner. The poor digestibility of activated sludge is notorious; therefore, the sludge was first pre-treated, and then subjected to biological anaerobic acidification. After a solid/liquid separation, the alkali and the acids were separated. The product is a mixture of highly concentrated organic acids with acetic acid. The acids can be used on the short term as a raw material for the production of green gas and as an auxiliary substance for denitrification in wastewater treatment plants. In the long term, the product can also be used as a raw material for caproic acid and PHA production, and as a silage agent.
Check the infographic for the innovative process.
Management of Lead Contaminated Sites in Bangladesh
Better remediation strategies ultimately improve lives
The informal recycling of lead-acid batteries in developing countries causes severe lead contamination of soil resulting in permanent IQ loss among local children. This is also the case in Bangladesh where exposure to lead causes more than 4% of all annual deaths. The World Bank estimates there are over 1,100 lead-contaminated sites in the Bangladesh. Together with Pure Earth and TAUW, we created a new toolkit that supports the remediation of informal used lead-acid battery recycling sites. Lead exposure creates several health hazards, especially for young children. Under Pure Earth’s Toxic Sites Identification Program, more than 250 individual lead battery recycling sites have been identified and assessed. One of these sites was assessed and remediated using the new toolkit. Through this project we were able to reach over 3 million people to create awareness about the lead hazards, informal recycling and risk mitigation initiatives. We hope the toolkit will support the remediation of lead-contaminated soils worldwide. The toolkit is available for anyone interested.
You can read more about this project on Pure Earth’s website.
Building the Energy Escape Room
The “Escape bus” is an initative from a Dutch energy supplier to help support the energy transition. People are welcomed in the Energy Escape Room, a ‘mobile space’ where people experience the threats of climate change through games and puzzles. The Energy Escape Room aims to raise awareness for climate change on a practical level (how to lower energy usage in your house; how to install solar panels and so on) and give people ideas on how to find solutions. With the help of the TAUW Foundation, the University of Applied Sciences of Arnhem, the Province of Gelderland and ZutphenEnergie an autobus was transformed into a mobile escape room. The itinitative will continue with the help of 40 local energy cooperations. You can rent the Escape Bus via the website www.samenom.nl (in Dutch).
You can read more about this project on their website (information in Dutch).
In December 2016, in honour of his 85th birthday, Jan Terlouw – a former Dutch politician – gave a short speech on National Television, which touched the hearts of the viewers. The message: a sustainable society based on trust. He appealed to younger generations to take the lead. This fragile monologue made an impact and can be seen as a counter-sound towards the Dutch political populist movements. The result is an annual event in the Deventer Theatre comprising of a duo-lecture by a young Future Maker and a renowned speaker who will give their vision on the world of tomorrow. The purpose of the lectures is to establish dialogue between generations and to encourage action to contribute to a more sustainable world. In addition to the annual lecture, the Deventer Theatre offers a weekly stage to a young thinker, doer or maker. Forty new Future Makers are scheduled for 2019.
You can look back the speech on Youtube.
Supporting community-based energy-initiatives
Advising on the heat transition from gas to sustainable heating sources
This project supported three community-based heat transition initiatives in the Netherlands by providing professional advice on developing bottom-up strategies for the transition from gas to sustainable heating sources. In the Netherlands, municipalities are searching for solutions with housing corporations and energy cooperatives, together with the community. In 2021, every Dutch municipality developed an vision on their local heat transition. This project developed a strategy for the use sustainable heating sources for energy cooperatives in the Netherlands and executed three pilots in 2019 and 2020. Atrivé and TAUW worked together with local communities and local energy organizations to find appropriate solutions. Virtual Reality (VR) was used to visualize the options to local residents.
You can find information on the pilots (in Dutch) on TAUW’s website:
1. Burgerinitiatieven sleutel tot succes in de warmtetransitie | TAUW
2. Webinar ‘Van visie naar uitvoering in de warmtetransitie’ een groot succes | TAUW
Additionally, an infographic was made for municipalities to help them to start their heat transition.
Creating a future while conducting environmental conservation.
The project will use youth forest conservation initiatives to provide socio-economic and ecosystemoriented solutions for the benefit of the youth, communities and the environment. It will basically aim to enhance conservation of forests while also capitalising on some forest value chains in a way of empowering youth economically. Under this project, Youth Act Club (YAC), together with Multiconsult Africa seeks to:
1. Venture into agriculture by introducing beehives in the forest and establishing a honey processing and packaging facility that will enable the YAC to supply honey on the market.
2. Venture into mushroom production: mushrooms will be graded and packaged for selling on the market. To acquire knowledge on mushroom production and its associated value chain, a mushroom production training at LUANAR University will be followed.
3. Introduce flowers and other flowering plants in the forest to create a safe haven for pollinators that are threatened by habitat loss from depletion of vegetation.
You can read more about this project in this news article.
Cleaning up contaminated soil and creating a healthier village
Oykamar is a village in Central Tajikistan that was built on the grounds of a former (Russian) pesticide distribution centre. That is why Oykamar is currently not a healthy village: its soil is severely contaminated. Children play barefoot on this soil and villagers consume vegetables that grew in contaminated topsoil. The aim of this project is to meaningfully improve living conditions in Oykamar by cleaning up the contaminated hotspots.
Learn more about this project via a Prezi presentation.
A combined effort to increase access to water and solar energy suburban and rural communities.
This project aims to increase access to both water and solar energy in suburban and rural communities in Senegal. The idea is to combine the network of sales points of two social business: Little Sun and Access to Water Foundation. Little Sun is manufactures and distributes solar lamps and Access to Water Foundation implements water treatment and jobs creation programmes in low income communities. In the training of new sale entrepeneurs they wanted also to empower women. The project created new partnership between the parties and had a large, continuing impact for the people of Senegal.
You can read more about this project on their website.