Magdalena Zabek

By completing the STSM of the COST action CA17133 I got the opportunity to link my PhD thesis entitled ‘Circular-oriented use of mineral building products in the planning process of residential buildings’ to the work of international researchers at the Department of Architectural Engineering and Technology at the Delft University of Technology. Joining active networks give me an insight into current developments in The Netherlands towards a circular economy. The collaboration helped me to structure my work and discuss assessment methods of circularity and methods to model circular planning processes. Furthermore, I completed my preliminary investigation of circular buildings and developed new strategies to continue with my research about circular process modelling.

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Mehmet Ali KÜÇÜKER

Dr.-Ing. Mehmet Ali Küçüker works as an Assistant Professor at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Department of Environmental Engineering, in Turkey. He conducted his STSM at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in Germany. TUHH provides research and education activities on microalgal products and technologies for food, pharmaceutical, energy and environment sectors. The goal of this STSM is for Dr. Küçüker, is to gain first-hand experience on the cultivation of microalgae that contain large amounts of structural biopolymers, including lutein, proteins and carbohydrates and its specific process for the obtaining functional food ingredients. The specific tasks of this STSM are listed as follows:  Training for cultivation of the microalgae with high rate of cultivation efficiency in the photobioreactors (PBRs) and extraction of functional food ingredients from cultivated microalgae. The studies carried out on the contents and concentrations of the microalgae C. sorokiniana allow the following conclusions: The examination of the primary cell components has shown that these are not significantly influenced by external factors or by the type of culture medium. A concentration of about 410 g kg-1 for proteins, 305 g kg-1 for saccharides, 130 g kg-1 for lipids and 52 g kg-1 for pigments was found as the mean value. The average concentration of lutein was about 2.8 g kg-1.

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Mari Carmen Garcia Mateo

The purpose of the STSM was to evaluate the City policies of representative cities in regard nature-based solutions (NBS), and EU policies and framework related to NBS, to underpin better implementation and mainstream NBS in cities, and foster sustainability urban planning in cities. MSc Arch. Mari Carmen Garcia Mateo has conducted research under the STSM: NBS in city policies: mapping the terrain, during six weeks under the framework of the COST Action 17133. How can city policies facilitate the implementation of Nature-based Solutions in urban settlement enhancing circular economy and foster coping with future challenges? The aim of this STSM was to analyse the state of the art and investigate novel possibilities for NBS implementation in the urban landscape, identify governance, financial and legal barriers for NBS implementation.The analysis showed that more ambitious policies must be set. Strategies and Action Plans should be created and implemented for sustainable urban planning in cities trough Nature Based Solutions, enhancing the new EU Green Deal that is under development .Overall, to strength the potential of NBS as a framework for tackling environmental, social and economic challenges, a more innovative, coherent, holistic and bold approach should be achieved at the city level to reconnecting people and nature again.This STSM also strengthened the collaboration between the researcher MSc Arch. Mari Carmen Garcia Mateo organization-MCG Research & Innovation Sustainability Architecture /Urban Planning, and the host RWTH Aachen University, Institute of Landscape Architecture, and create a joint knowledge approach.

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Adrián Jaén-Gil

Adrián Jaén-Gil from the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) in Spain spent three months at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in collaboration with the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Norway to study the capabilities of microalgae water treatment for the elimination of the hazardous pollutants in the produced water generated from oil and gas extraction processes. The implementation of these cost-effective and environmental-friendly treatment solutions are crucial to ensure a safe water discharge into the environment and promote produced water as a valuable resource in regions affected by water scarcity. Thanks to this STSM, Adrián Jaén-Gil had the opportunity to be introduced into a new set of research clusters and collaborate in the development of new nature-based solutions (NBS) to encourage a Green Circular Economy. The three institutions involved will maintain a collaboration to continue exploring these sustainable resources.

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Tamara Llano Astuy

Dr. Tamara Llano Astuy of the University of Cantabria, assistant professor at the Department of Chemistry and Process and Resources Engineering, has been working at the University of Reyjkavik for 90 days under the framework of the 2nd call STSM of the CA17133. She has been collaborating with Dr. David C. Finger and with the SORPA landfill to take the data of waste management in Reykjavik capital area. During the 3-months internship, Dr. Llano developed several models in Aspen Plus to simulate under different process conditions. Several configurations of anaerobic digestion were simulated under different temperature regimes, testing two kind of reactors, using one or two consecutive reactions steps, operating with different waste fractions (lignocellulosic biomass, food waste, municipal solid waste or co-digestion of two most generated fractions in Reykjavik). Several technical, environmental and economic indicators were compared and analyzed in all simulated scenarios: yield of methane, the amount and composition of the digestate (solid residue), purity of biogas, total released CO2, capital and operating costs. Thanks to this collaboration, both institutions will maintain a good and prolific relationship for the next years through exchange students, R&D projects in consortium and scientific manuscripts. Other results of this collaboration were the development of a manuscript that will be sent in November, and the presentation of an oral communication at TERRA en VISION Congress held in Barcelona (Spain).

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Laura Tams

Laura Tams from Technische Universität Berlin (Germany) performed a STSM  at the CIIMAR- Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research of the University of Porto with host Cristina Calheiros to evaluate the potential of natural and recycled materials for green roof systems with the LCA method. The analysis focused on alternatives for the conventional substrate and drainage layer. Three scenarios were evaluated: 1. Conventional layers and substrate 2. Cork implemented as a drainage layer and technical substrate 3. Cork implemented as drainage layer and an alternative soil-like substrate. The usage stage was not implemented as there are to many different options to just force on one. The demolition stage was not implemented as well due to the lack of data. The results of the LCA show that cork has a negative global warming potential of -15.9 kgCO2/m² green roof compared to the synthetic alternatives. Furthermore, it is evident that when substituting the conventionally used expanded clay substrate with its high energy demand in manufacturing by using sand or recycled brick, it has a great potential to reduce the CO2 emissions further. The results show that for creating really sustainable nature based solutions towards a circular city, recycled and natural products play a key role. For the implementation of green roofs local and recyclable resources should seriously be considered.

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Michele Turco

The aim of the STSM was to develop a simple methodology to combine physically-based model at building scale with an urban scale model for the analysis of the hydrological behavior of a green roof. In this way, I applied the HYDRUS-1D model to simulate water flow through the green roof layers at building scale and then combining results from the Hydrus simulations with EPA SWMM model at urban scale. Results from simulations showed that the possibility to connect and combine these two kind of models is possible.Thus, the accurancy of the results in terms of volume reduction and flooding event reduction has been increased by using this methodology.

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Lucia Gusmaroli

During my STSM at Brunel University, I had the opportunity to be introduced to a new research area. Liaising with the hosting research group, I learnt about nature-based solutions (NBS) and their link with circular economy. Since I work in the field of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), I was able give my contribution on the issue of CECs in NBS, focusing on legislation and identifying both research and policy gaps. 

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Siv Lene Gangenes Skar

Siv Lene Gangenes Skar (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, NO) spent a month at the Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI) to foster collaboration and learning more of developing innovative future systems, researching how circular food production could be combined with tourism and geothermal energy, visiting and learning about AUI facilities, for future collaboration. This STSM made it possible for Cand. Agric. Skar to develop a plan of starting her PhD study. The university has innovative and well educated staff, willing to be in a team developing circular innovative future food systems. While visiting the places, research questions and possible project collaboration were discussed with researchers at the university. For more information on this research contact Siv Lene.

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