De Waard


De Waard addresses a global challenge in a typically Dutch context. How can a picturesque landscape adjust to the necesity of using renewables instead of fossil fuels?

The Lopikerwaard is an area filled with grass, cows, and windmills. We, in Netherlands have a tendency to refer to this landscape as nature. But it is not. It is an outdoor factory and completely man made. For a millennium the area has produced energy, and provided it to the Cities nearby. Energy in the form of food. Joules for consumption.

This system is no longer viable. The ground is made of peat, and because of the agriculture it is slowly sinking. Combine this with rising sealevels and increased floodsurges in the surrounding rivers and we have a recipe for disaster.

De Waard (this project) proposes a solution to both soil-subsidence and our evolving energy demands. In the short term we can increase the production of watts (electricity) instead of joules (food). In the long term we can make sure the peat grows back, sequestering co2 instead of emitting it.

Achieving this will not be easy, and in order to even begin to understand the changes we can make, this proposal has four key components:

0 Understanding the Lopikerwaard

The Lopikerwaard is an agricultural area borderd by a river on each side. The riversides are favored as recreational routes on the weekends.

Almost a thousand years ago the area was still a peat bog. The rivers meandering through the area ran around a hill of peat.

Around 1200 AD the bishop of Utrecht made a plan. He incentiviced farmers to settle the area and produce food for the city. In order to cultivate the area they dug a network of ditches to drain the area. With the water gone the area began to sink. Peat shinks at about one centimeter per year when it's not submerged.

By now now the area sits lower that the surrounding rivers. The only way to stop the peat from shrinking more is to stop pumping out the water.

1 Change the energy we produce

More water in the ditches means that the farmers will have to change their business model. One of the things they could do now, is producing energy by floating solar panels on the hundreds of kilometers of ditches in the Lopikerwaard.

Water cools the pv cells and makes them more efficient. For even more efficiency this design can easily rotate with the sun position.

The glass panel on top of the pv cells reflects the sky and with that the mood of the landscape.

2 Change the system we use to deliver it where it's needed

3 Change the hearts and minds of people

CC Stijn Dries