The Circular Dredging Consortium has won the WOW Prize 2023. The South Holland parties that work together want to transform dredged material into high-quality raw materials for the construction sector. The audience award goes to the Innovation in mowing technology and vessel navigation project.
The WOW Prize is an initiative of the Platform WOW, the national network of road, waterway and water managers. This awards the best collaboration. Eight projects were nominated from 31 entries. The jury praised the collaboration, scalability and innovation of these projects.
The jury consisted of Willemien Bosch (Royal NL Engineers), Els van Grol (Drents Overijsselse Delta water board), Lindy Molenkamp (province of North Holland), Eric van Duijn (municipality of Amersfoort) and Wendy Tan (Wageningen University & Research). Their choice fell on the Circular Dredging Consortium (CBC). The jury prize includes a cash prize of 10,000 euros, to take the collaboration a step further.
There is also an audience prize (5,000 euros). This was won by the Innovation in mowing technology and vessel navigation project. The prizes were awarded during the national WOW day on November 2.
From dredging surplus to high-quality raw materials
The CBC is a network of collaborative partners, including Waterweg, Blauwe Bagger, Noorderwind, Hollandsche Delta Water Board, Schieland and Krimpenerwaard Water Board, Rijnland Water Board, Municipality of Rotterdam and the Province of South Holland. They want to transform the 10 million cubic meters of dredged material released annually in South Holland from underused residual flow into high-quality raw materials for the construction sector.
The parties do this by developing technical and organizational solutions. The goal is to create a regional circular dredging chain that is economically feasible and contributes to CO2-poor and sustainable construction practices and serves as an example for the rest of the Netherlands.
Started as a dream of young entrepreneurs
The driving forces behind the collaborative project are Eva Aarts and Wies van Lieshout, founders of the Waterweg company. From the jury report: “It started with a dream of young entrepreneurs who wanted to tackle the shortage of raw materials with the surplus of dredged material by processing the Dutch dredging surplus of 40 million cubic meters per year into building material. However, the development of a tile made from dredged material led to the insight that a circular product cannot be made and used in a linear system.”
That is why Aarts and Van Lieshout stopped small-scale pilots and shifted the focus to forming an ecosystem for the circular dredging industry. “By focusing the collaboration on the long term and involving the internal organizations of the various partners and all stakeholders in the chain, a structural collaboration is created for the circular processing and application of dredged material in the South Holland region.” The Circular Dredging Consortium is still in the start-up phase, but first tangible results are already visible with dredging tiles and circular raw materials.
The jury praises “the great degree of self-reflection and courage of the initiators” to start all over again. “With their approach they are committed to system change. This means that legislation and regulations are also necessary at national level.”
The winners, together with jury members I photo: Platform WOW / Tineke Dijkstra
Audience award for solutions for invasive aquatic plants
The Innovation in mowing technology and vessel navigation project received the most online votes and therefore won the audience award. This focuses on solutions for proliferating aquatic plants. The Mowing Water Plants Randmeren Foundation and Cooperative Gastfree Randmeren UA, together with Techmaps Remote Sensing BV, have innovated the mowing technology used and developed a mowing app and a navigation aid for recreational users. This happened with the support of market and government parties.
Jury member Lindy Molenkamp about this: “We know that this issue is not only an issue in your area, but in all areas in the Netherlands. It’s great that the public voted for you to further scale up this initiative.”
These six nominated collaborative projects in road, waterway and water management did not win the prizes:
- Climate neutral and Circular Asset Management and Commissioning (KCAO) for water boards;
- Riobase: data-driven sewer management;
- New Waterworks Zoutkamp;
- Reinforcement of Lauwersmeerdijk-Vierhuizergat;
- Innovation partnership Sterke Lekdijk;
- Cross-project and long-term collaboration by Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg, contractors and other parties.