Clean Water for Megacities


Clean Water for Megacities

The “Expo 2010”, Shanghai: Civil engineers from the TU Darmstadt to exhibit new water-supply and sewage/refuse-disposal solutions

The Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt will be exhibiting a new type of infrastructure system for supplying water and disposing of sewage and refuse that may be flexibly adapted to suit conditions at rapidly, and frequently wildly, growing cities and greater metropolitan areas in newly industrializing and developing countries at the “EXPO 2010,” Shanghai. The TU Darmstadt will be the only German university to have its own exhibit at the Shanghai World Fair.

Supplying water and energy faces future cities with severe challenges. Particularly affected are rapidly, even wildly, growing cities in newly industrializing and developing countries, who urgently need to expend massive efforts on planning and developing their future infrastructures for supplying water and disposing of sewage and refuse. Conventional, central, water-supply and sewage/refuse-disposal systems like those usually employed in industrialized countries are not very sensible in their case, since such systems are inflexible and inherently incapable of being continually adapted to suit changing local conditions.

Jointly with the National Engineering Research Center for Urban Pollution Control at its partner university, Shanghai’s Tongji University, the TU Darmstadt’s IWAR Institute has investigated the engineering and organizational options for more flexibly configuring the necessary infrastructural systems and configuring them such that they will make more efficient use of the available resources. Their investigations have resulted in the “SEMICENTRAL” approach, which will be presented to an international audience as an exemplary means for dealing with water and energy resources in the Chinese “Urban Planet” pavilion at the forthcoming Shanghai World Fair. SEMICENTRAL is based on small supply and disposal systems that may be expanded whenever necessary and thereby adapted to suit current conditions. Among other things, SEMICENTRAL encompasses local water reuse, which will substantially reduce the quantities of water and energy required, since it also takes account of the sewage generated and utilizes the latter for energy recuperation, and may even allow autonomous operation of “semicentral” systems. SEMICENTRAL is thus both economical and climate-friendly, and may make major contributions to improving healthcare and the quality of life in future megacities.

The TU Darmstadt’s IWAR Institute is one of twelve institutes within its Civil Engineering and Geodesy Department. The institute’s amalgamation of various disciplines allows it to contribute to arriving at practical scientific solutions to complex, interdisciplinary problems arising in the fields of environmental protection and water-pollution control. Among other things, the institute also addresses matters related to water, sewage, and refuse treatment, resource management, and regional development.

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