Decision Support for the Urban Food-Water-Energy Nexus
ENabling LARGE-scale adaptive integration of technology hubs to enhance community resilience through decentralized urban FWE nexus decision support
Developing sustainable future cities depends on the opportunities to optimally integrate and mobilize food, water and energy (FWE) resources in a synergistic way to reduce water, carbon, and ecological footprints, and increase the community resilience against challenges exacerbated by climate change, population growth, and resources depletion.
Through modelling of urban development scenarios and the use of decision support tools, we can better understand how community resilience in relation to natural and anthropogenic stresses can be strengthened by the optimal integration of FWE technology hubs at varying scales.
ENLARGE is a SUGI Project
About Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI)/Food-Water-Energy Nexus
The Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI)/Food-Water-Energy Nexus is a call jointly established by the Belmont Forum and the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe. The cooperation was established in order to bring together the fragmented research and expertise across the globe to find innovative new solutions to the Food-Water-Energy Nexus challenge.
The ENLARGE project consortium cohesively integrates a highly multidisciplinary team for interdisciplinary research with transdisciplinary collaboration among engineers, social scientists and natural scientists, whose work directly deals with aspects of the FWE nexus. In addition to these core academic research units, including Technical University Delft (TUD), University of Central Florida (UCF), University of Florida (UF), and Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture (IRSTEA).
The team includes different actors (industrial and public-private bodies – Ecofilae (ECF), Ecosec (ECS), Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), and the South Florida Climate Change Compact – Resilient Redesign (SFRR). These bodies are directly involved in developing sustainable solutions in agriculture and waste management (ECF, ECS), and urban development (AMS). The overall team has abundant experience in optimizing the food-water-energy nexus, i.e. the management alternatives of urban wastewater, stormwater, green energy, waste recycling, nutrient management and urban agriculture.
The first day of the ENLARGE kick-off started with introductions over coffee and tea. After a welcome talk by Prof. Nick van de Giesen (TUD), Dr Edo Abraham (TUD) introduced the ENLARGE project, its work-packages, project aims and deliverables, as well as an overview on the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI) Food-Water-Energy (FWE) Nexus call. Next on the agenda was a discussion of the case study cities: the sustainability challenges in each city, some of the policy constraints and opportunities, an inventory of FWE nexuses and FWE technologies that could solve these challenges were discussed.
Chelsea Kaandorp (PhD researcher at TUD) gave a presentation on the energy transition for Amsterdam Metropolitan Area in its bid to become more sustainable and its FWE nexuses. Dr Jiangxiao Qiu (Faculty at UF) presented some of the pressing challenges for the urban environment of Southeast Florida and some living labs that will explore technology integration within the urban nexus. These included green roofs and community gardens in Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas as sustainable urban farming sites exploring integrated solar power, biogas, LIDs, drip-irrigation, and hydroponics systems. Partners from IRSTEA, Ecofilae and Ecosec presented their case study city (Marseille) and some of their joint work on closing the water and nutrient cycles within the city. A site on the Euromod 2 was discussed as a living lab for optimising FWE nexus technology hubs in nutrient retrieval from waste streams.
The morning discussions were followed by lunch in the sun. Such a warm and sunny day in mid October was a fitting follow up to one of the driest summers in the Netherlands for decades. It stimulated multiple conversations about climate-driven pressures on water resources and what it means for Amsterdam.
After lunch, the links between the different case studies, as well as the data requirements for each case study and associated modelling and data collection challenges were discussed. Professor Ni-Bin Chang of the University of Central Florida lead a discussion on the Work Packages (WPs) and the deliverables for each team. The conversations were followed by an energetic mind mapping session on urban challenges and innovations. During this discussion the consortium exchanged our expertise on urban farming, resource recovery, and sustainable energy. After an afternoon of talking, we got a guided tour showing us the small scale pilot studies on the site, which included aquaponics and vertical farming techniques. The day ended with dinner at the same Cafe where we could even taste some of the food grown with these technologies.
On the second day, we had a group lunch at the ‘Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ’ in Amsterdam, where we reflected in small groups on the topics of the previous day. This was followed by a long walkaround Amsterdam’s beautiful canals, ending at the roof of NEMO Science Museum. Here, we could see the various parts of Amsterdam including the water flowing towards the Port of Amsterdam, the skyline of city’s financial district, the ‘Zuidas’ and the historic buildings of the city center.
The third day of the meeting mainly focussed on WPs and responsibilities for each country leads. The general project management and reporting requirements under SUGI and national funding agencies were reviewed. With refreshments in the meeting room, open questions regarding the project management and all WPs were discussed. Avenues for further collaborations and how joint WPs can be efficiently delivered were explored. The use of dynamical systems modelling and decision support tools for all case studies was presented as a starting joint work. The topics of stakeholder involvement in the research were also discussed. At 12:00 pm, the kick-off was officially closed with lunch in the canteen and informal breakout discussions and then goodbyes.