Better Quality of Life in Megacities

2015/05/07

Better Quality of Life in Megacities

SEMIZENTRAL Project Receives GreenTec Award 2015

SEMIZENTRAL, an international research project that is anchored at the TU Darmstadt, has received one of the GreenTec 2015 awards. Dr. Susanne Bieker’s team (at the Chair headed by Prof. Peter Cornel) was awarded the prize in the category “Urbanization” because it has made an impressive contribution to improving the quality of life in megacities.

Im April 2014 wurde in Qingdao, China die weltweit erste Referenzanlage eines semizentralen „Resource Recovery Center“ eröffnet. Bild: Cosalux und Susanna Neunast
In April 2014 the first reference plant, worldwide, for a semi-centralized “Resource Recovery Center” was opened in Qingdao, China. Image: Cosalux und Susanna Neunast

The population of cities, worldwide, is increasing by more than one million people each week. This presents enormous challenges for supplying sufficient amounts of clean drinking water, for treating wastewater, for proper waste disposal, and for limiting energy consumption. Frequently, inadequate infrastructures, or their complete absence, endanger people’s quality of life and the environment.

Supply and disposal systems for fast growing urban areas

SEMIZENTRAL stands for a new concept that integrates supply and disposal systems at a time of explosive urban growth and that is particularly efficient in terms of energy use and resource protection: it enables individual urban districts to flexibly scale infrastructures for (waste)water and garbage, according to the city’s growth rate and, simultaneously, to save water and energy.

Das Konzept SEMIZENTRAL. Grafik: IWAR / Semizentral
SEMIZENTRAL concept. Image: IWAR / Semizentral

The first reference plant, worldwide, for a semi-centralized “Resource Recovery Center” was opened in April 2014 in Qingdao, China, and has operated successfully since then. Experience gained there can be transferred globally to other megacities. The TU Darmstadt is cooperating with Tongji University Shanghai and the Qingdao Technological University.

With the aid of the SEMIZENTRAL concept, water can be re-used and, consequently, the demand for potable water is reduced by at least 30%. Energy savings and the production of energy from sewage sludge and organic waste make it possible to operate the semi-centralized “Resource Recovery Center” autarkically, i.e., independently of energy from external sources. The expansion of the necessary infrastructure can be matched with the specifics of the district’s development – this guarantees optimal system utilization and reduces the risk of planning mistakes based on incorrect assumptions about future developments.

GreenTec Awards

Der GreenTec Award 2015 in der Kategorie "Urbanisierung" geht an das Projekt SEMIZENTRAL, v.l.n.r.: Dr. Stefan Franzke (Berlin Partner), Prof. Hongbin Chen (Tongji University Shanghai), Dr. Susanne Bieker (TU Darmstadt), Prof. Dr. Martin Wagner (TU Darmstadt), Christian Rocke (Messe München International. Bild: GreenTec Awards
The GreenTec Award 2015 in the category “Urbanization” goes to project SEMIZENTRAL, from left to right: Dr. Stefan Franzke (Berlin Partner), Prof. Hongbin Chen (Tongji University Shanghai), Dr. Susanne Bieker (TU Darmstadt), Prof. Dr. Martin Wagner (TU Darmstadt), Christian Rocke (Messe München International. Image: GreenTec Awards

The idea for the GreenTec Awards came, in 2008, from two engineers who wanted to establish a highly regarded prize for successful environmental protection initiatives. This award, which is not financially endowed and can be presented in 14 categories, is one of the most highly regarded environmental and business prizes in Europe.

The annual award presentation ceremony attracts considerable media attention and is thus an effective platform for spotlighting intelligent environmental technologies and involvement with environmental issues. An interdisciplinary jury that comprises representatives from business, science, relevant organizations, and the media decides on nominations for and winners of the competition.

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