Report: Business opportunities for sustainable coastal and river engineering

An ecosystem oriented approach to protecting our coasts and waterways can offer great business opportunities, concludes the final report of the Climate-KIC project Working with Nature.

The protection of our delta and coastal areas is a constantly growing concern. An ecosystem oriented approach is to be preferred over traditional civil engineering. It is not only innovative and sustainable, but also offers great business opportunities.

The Climate-KIC project, with partners from three European countries, was coordinated from Wageningen University

Sustainable alternative

The world market for civil engineering in delta and coastal areas is €120 billion, most of which is spent on traditional civil engineering, such as the building of dams and dykes.

But while the industry continues to focus on hard infrastructure, climate change is driving an urgent need for more resilient and adaptive alternatives, such as the ‘Working with Nature’ approach.

According to project lead Erik van Slobbe, senior researcher at Wageningen University, it “offers a strategy to counter the threat of sea-level rise, floodings and extreme events, as well as an opportunity for  innovations for climate adaptation.” 

Cost reductions

Van Slobbe: “By matching the forces of nature in  river and coastal systems with human engineering for flood protection and urban development, cost reductions of up to 40% can be delivered compared to typical dyke constructions.” Therefore, Working with Nature initiatives are expected to be developed in the future on both European and global levels. 

Competition

Yet, timing is crucial, according to Van Slobbe: “It is a fast growing market. If we do not make use of the working with nature approach, we will lose market potential. In Asia business opportunities as well as environmental awareness in delta, river and harbour areas are growing.”

“The Dutch have always been famous for classical engineering, such as building dams and dykes. But delta-works such as the Oosterscheldekering, in retrospect, turn out to have been sub-optimal in the context of climate change, considering they will have to be replaced within 20 years,” he said.

Van Slobbe: “What we need is a mix of innovative techniques, that are sustainable and cost-effective at the same time. An example is a huge sand nourishment along the Dutch coast, called the ‘Zandmotor’ (sand engine), creating benefits for flood defence maintenance, ecology, recreation and cost reductions.”

European network

Climate-KIC partners from different European countries, from the academic world, consultancy and industry were involved  in the project.

The resulting trans-disciplinary collaboration created an extra  dimension, according to Van Slobbe, caused by a diversity of experiences and knowledge.

Van Slobbe: ‘The collaboration, especially the field visits to each other’s working areas, turned out to be extremely fruitful for acceleration of our thinking and development of this eco-innovation for climate adaptation.’

Click here to download the full report.

 
Location
Related Focus Area
Sustainable Land Use
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution

Ensuring that fresh water is available, in a sustainable...

Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution
In The News
Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation

The European Commission released the new EU Climate Adaptation...

Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes the new EU strategy on adaptation...

EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change
In The News
Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities

A labyrinth of cobblestone streets, dimly lit and presided...

Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities
In The News
Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neig...

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Leuven...

Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neighbourhood
In The News
Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience

Start Park, a project led by citizens from Florence,...

Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience
In The News
New accelerator programme geared towards systemic change secures key partners

Following its Open Call, the New Accelerator programme has...

New accelerator programme geared towards systemic change secures key partners
In The News
New videogame builds climate awareness among players

Change Game, a videogame financed by EIT Climate-KIC and...

New videogame builds climate awareness among players
In The News
Organic and homemade food brought to the dining rooms of large corporations

Carlota Mateos and Juan Vila, co-founders of PlenEat have...

Organic and homemade food brought to the dining rooms of large corporations
In The News
Climeworks added to Microsoft’s climate portfolio

EIT Climate-KIC supported Climeworks, a carbon capture technology, is...

Climeworks added to Microsoft’s climate portfolio
In The News
Circular Slovenia named in 100 Climate Policy Breakthroughs

The peer-to-peer learning platform for governments, Apolitical, included EIT...

Circular Slovenia named in 100 Climate Policy Breakthroughs
In The News
New tool uses satellite imagery to accelerate sustainable agriculture

Supported by EIT Climate-KIC and developed by its partner...

New tool uses satellite imagery to accelerate sustainable agriculture
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

EIT Climate-KIC will be taking part in the Climate...

EIT Climate-KIC at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021
In The News
Green Invest from Stuttgart and Start Park from Florence win Climathon Awards ...

A total of 140 teams of citizen finalists applied...

Green Invest from Stuttgart and Start Park from Florence win Climathon Awards 2020
In The News
Biden’s Opportunity for Reinventing Climate Innovation

Joe Biden will be sworn in today as 46th...

Biden’s Opportunity for Reinventing Climate Innovation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC’s Open Accelerator: collaboration, not competition

It is no secret that to tackle climate change...

EIT Climate-KIC’s Open Accelerator: collaboration, not competition
In The News
New platform inspires sustainable Nordic wood construction

This week marks the launch of NoMuWood.com, an EIT...

New platform inspires sustainable Nordic wood construction
In The News
European Union launches Pact to support citizen-led climate action

On Wednesday 16 December, the European Commission is launching...

European Union launches Pact to support citizen-led climate action
In The News
“An avalanche of hope and energy”: The power of Paris

Our Climate Champions 2020: Melissa Capcha. Five years on...

“An avalanche of hope and energy”: The power of Paris
In The News
“Let’s find ways to take action within our abilities”

Our Climate Champions 2020: Gopal Kumar Mohoto. Five years...

“Let’s find ways to take action within our abilities”
In The News
“Climate change is outpacing us, there is no time for excuses”

Our Climate Champions 2020: Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz. Five years...

“Climate change is outpacing us, there is no time for excuses”
In The News
COP26 gives Scotland “a platform to showcase… what’s possible”

Our Climate Champions 2020: Kit England. Five years on...

COP26 gives Scotland “a platform to showcase… what’s possible”
In The News
COP26 might be postponed but “climate action cannot wait”

Our Climate Champions 2020: Melani Furlan. Five years on...

COP26 might be postponed but “climate action cannot wait”
In The News
A climate service for flood risk mapping in urban areas

The SaferPlaces project, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, has created...

A climate service for flood risk mapping in urban areas
In The News
Raising climate awareness through art in the Glasgow City Region

The Glasgow City Region uses arts as a means...

Raising climate awareness through art in the Glasgow City Region
In The News
Helping Europe achieve a circular economy transition

EIT Climate-KIC, EIT RawMaterials, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT...

Helping Europe achieve a circular economy transition
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC and EASME host WCEF event on circular economy

The World Circular Economy Forum brings together business leaders,...

EIT Climate-KIC and EASME host WCEF event on circular economy
In The News
Citizens across globe eager to contribute to a post-COVID recovery

Over 4,500 citizens from around the world will join...

Citizens across globe eager to contribute to a post-COVID recovery
In The News
Transformative climate action and COP26: Join our webinar

Are you working to deliver transformative change for a...

Transformative climate action and COP26: Join our webinar
In The News
Madrid, Amsterdam and Milan: Three cities putting citizen participation at the...

The Extinction Rebellion or Fridays for Future global actions...

Madrid, Amsterdam and Milan: Three cities putting citizen participation at the heart of climate action