Monthly Archive September 26, 2019

ByIESA Shift

IPG: Sea, Sand and Sustainability

By Ankita Singhvi.

After months of studying in classrooms, the Interdisciplinary Project Group (IPG)  gives IE students the opportunity to put our knowledge to use in the ‘real world’. 


We were commissioned to support the beach pavilions at Scheveningen in aligning themselves with the climate goals of the Haags Klimaatpact. The Haags Klimaatpact (Hague’s Climate Agreement) was formulated as a statement of intent in 2018. It is a document that states that various political parties, local businesses and the municipality aim to operationalise and localise the international climate goals to the context of The Hague. Our aim was to propose collaborative measures that the beach pavilions could take to align themselves with these climate goals, suggest how they could be implemented, and then evaluate their environmental, social and financial impacts. In short, the three resulting measures that we came up with were:


  1. Organising a Transport Hub: A significant part of a beach pavilion’s environmental impact stems from trucks transporting goods to and garbage from the pavilion. Therefore, we propose a three-step strategy for decreasing truck movement and increase sustainable procurement. Step 1: Getting insight into transportation and procurement. Step 2: Collaborative procurement to decrease costs of sustainable products and number of suppliers. Step 3: A central location realised for the temporary storage of products; a Transport Hub. All the suppliers bring their products here, and then beach pavilions organise the ‘last mile’ from the Hub to their pavilion using electric bikes or vehicles.


  1. A collective biodigester: Around 90% of waste created by the beach pavilions is residual waste, and roughly half of this is organic waste. We propose small-scale, onsite biodigesters operated per cluster of beach pavilions to convert this organic waste into valuable electricity.


  1. Switching to alternative forms of terrace heating: Most of the pavilions in Scheveningen use gas and electrical heaters such as fireplaces running on gas and electrical heaters in parasols. The consumption of energy by terrace heaters is inefficient, but it is not possible for a single pavilion to discontinue their use for the fear of losing customers. Therefore, we propose five alternatives to the traditional terrace heaters that can be implemented per cluster of pavilions: heated tables, heated cushions for chairs, heated cushions for benches, heated benches and blankets.


These results, along with a list of individual solutions and funding opportunities for the beach pavilions was presented to the beach pavilions owners.


The main lesson to be taken from our research is that there is no single measure that can be the ‘silver bullet’ for reaching The Hague’s climate goal of net-zero carbon emissions. As with all complex tasks, this transition needs many steps to be taken in parallel. We recommend that the first step is gathering insight: the beach pavilions currently know very little about their own resource use and waste, so they should collect data to understand it better. This data can then be used to understand which collaborative measures would have the most environmental impact, which in turn would have to be supported by municipal and national government in order to spread the risk and initial investments needed. Armed with this knowledge, the next step can be formulated, bringing the beach pavilions closer to the climate goals of the Haags Klimaatpact.


IPG project by: Eva Aarts, Marin Visscher, Tessa Baart, Quirien Reijtenbagh and Ankita Singhvi 

Full report can be seen on request 🙂

ByIESA Shift

Synthetic Kerosene: A Take-Off to CO2-neutral aviation?

By Lowik Pieters.

The course Sustainable Innovation and Social Change (SUISCY) gave us the opportunity to investigate the innovative way of making synthetic kerosene from renewable sources in North Holland. Our case study showed the possibilities and limitations of the implementation phase of this sustainable innovation.

Let’s first take a look at how synthetic kerosene is produced. Kerosene is made from hydrocarbons. Synthetic Kerosene is an artificial kerosene from carbon and hydrogen atoms. To make it carbon neutral, CO2 captured from the atmosphere or industrial plants can be a source of carbon atoms (CO2 is split into CO – and O2). The hydrogen comes from water through electrolysis when there is a surplus of wind/solar electricity production. The picture below shows how Synthetic Fuel can be produced.

In 2018, a report called “Carbon Neutral Aviation” was published for synthetic kerosene in The Netherlands. In that scenario, production should be based on carbon sourcing from Tata Steel (yes, the graphite rain company), hydrogen sourcing via water from ‘t IJ / the North Sea, Energy from an offshore windpark near the coast of IJmuiden and transport and storage through the Port of Amsterdam towards Schiphol Airport, the proposed consumer.


To see if this could be an option for The Netherlands, and in particular Schiphol Airport we took four perspectives on the case: starting with 1) the Innovation System Perspective, through which potential actors were identified and the technologies were analyzed in further detail. This analysis was followed by 2) the Niche-Transition Perspective (adapted from Loorbach et al., 2017) that allowed us to make a comparison between the niche of Synthetic Kerosene and current regimes of airplane fueling. Thereafter, we included a 3) Sustainable Business Model Perspective  for checking if the value proposition could lead to a viable business case. Lastly, a 4) Visioning and Backcasting (i.e. the opposite of forecasting) Perspective paved transition pathways and scenarios that could be useful to predict future developments.


We concluded that synthetic kerosene developments in The Netherlands are depending on different technolgical aspects and various actors. This can be called a complex sociotechnical system, which can threaten a successful implementation. According to our analysis, traditional oil companies could play a key role, but they need to be willing to change the current regime and infrastructure. However, we see many advantages, since the Fischer-Tropsch process is a well established technique, since synthetic kerosene will – unlike biofuels – not compete with agriculture, and since resources and energy are expected to be widely available in the near future.

This project was carried out by: Martijn van Bodegraven, Nico van Eeden, Joel de Saint-Ours and Lowik Pieters.

The full report can be seen on request.

ByIESA Shift

The resource problem of the Energy Transition | VVM Café 16 October 2019

Dr. Benjamin Sprecher will discuss the (critical) raw materials that are needed for the energy transition, from an Industrial Ecology perspective. The event will take place on Wednesday 16 October 2019 from 17:30 at VVM, 2e Daalsedijk 6A, Utrecht.

Nowadays, it can be considered common knowledge that society needs to drastically change its energy system due to the relation to climate change. But what consequences does this have on global material demands to make this transition happen?

Dr. Benjamin Sprecher will show us this resource perspective, which is often overlooked in energy transition debates. Is there even enough metal, cobalt and neodymium to built all those wind turbines and photovoltaics? Can we mine them fast enough and what geopolitical issues can arise when doing so?

These and other questions will be addressed during this VVM café, as a typical example of the field of Industrial Ecology. It is being co-organised by the student association for Industrial Ecology, IESA Shift, and will be held in English, to ensure non-Dutch speaking students and professionals can also participate.

Please register here (website is in Dutch, but the event will be in English). Note that student members can attend the event for free. Not a member of VVM yet? Use the code ShiftVVM and pay EUR 20 instead of EUR 40 for a membership.