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Ecomare venusschelp 4924 strand venusschelp ogb

Alternative land-based shellfish cultivation

With this project, the Sea Shell Foundation, Meromar Zeeland, and HZ University of Applied Sciences aim to develop a total concept as a blueprint for sustainable plot-based farming of carpet shells and venus clams.

To this end, the project partners will carry out all necessary research and development work to make sustainable parcel-bound carpet and venus shell farming commercially feasible in the Netherlands in the short term. Research and development work will cover all the different phases of the breeding, harvesting and processing process; from the conditioning of parental animals to the harvesting and processing of parcel-bound carpet and venus clams.

The blueprint for small-scale and sustainable farming of carpet and venus clams will consist, on the one hand, of the necessary knowledge on the optimal farming of the clams and, on the other hand, of various developments for the purpose of farming, harvesting, and processing.

Work covers the entire process from breeding to sale of carpet and venus clams and includes conditioning and spawning adult clams, testing favourable breeding conditions for larvae and hatchlings, monitoring further growth to testing sorting and packaging of the clams.

The findings will be announced after the end of the project, expected in December 2024, and will be published on the HZ University of Applied Sciences website, among others. Here, the results will remain findable for at least five years after the end of the project. Also, the findings of this project are available free of charge on request to all companies active in the sector or subsector concerned.

The project was co-funded by Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Grant Scheme (SDVA).

Terneuzen The Netherlands


The Water Technology Research Group is a partner in the European Union Horizon 2020 programme for the research project AquaSPICE. AquaSPICE aims at Advancing Sustainability of Process Industries through Digital and Circular Water Use Innovations.

Water is used during stages of production processes in most industries. It is estimated that 20% of all fresh water consumption globally is used by industry. Innovation in water treatment can bring closed loops to almost 100% efficiency for important industrial water users by recovering and reusing resources.

Water scarcity is a reality for some of Dow locations around Europe. Dow is seeking opportunities to reduce the fresh water intake in the different production sites by reusing water streams. The water streams will be treated by technologies to reuse them again in the processes. Therefore, a pilot will be operated, which consists of containers with different water treatment technologies.

The pilot will be operated at Dow Terneuzen, Dow Böhlen, and BASF Antwerpen. At each location, different water streams with different treatments will be tested. This case study is a collaboration between Dow (Terneuzen and Böhlen), Ghent University, Evides Industriewater, RWTH Aachen University, and HZ University of Applied Sciences.

Additionally, the focus will be on intelligent water management. A water cyber-physical-system will be created with a measurement network of real-time sensors and a model will be constructed where decisions can be made.

Hans Cappon, Emma McAteer and Lies Hamelink, from the Water Technology research group, are working on the AquaSPICE project. They are responsible for supporting the operational work of the pilots at Dow Terneuzen and Dow Böhlen, as well as participating in the data analyses and evaluation of the results.

The project Aquaspice has received funding from European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958396.

Zand close up


The narrow strip of beach and dunes form an important part of the coastal protection system around the world. Even though it only makes up about 4% of the earths total landmass. They protect the hinterland from flooding, provide freshwater filtration and storage services and add unique wetlands and landscapes which provide many touristic and recreational functions. However, these areas are experiencing heavier erosion each year. Therefore, innovative measures created by the Building with Nature and Living Shorelines philosophies will be put to use in order to halt and reverse ongoing erosion.

The solution proposed is the addition of sand suppletions to areas that show high erosion rates. The volume of the nourishments is determined by predicting the erosion rate on current knowledge gained by monitoring. Two large-scale nourishment projects have been created (Sandmotor and Hondsbossche Dunes) and form the living labs for the project C-SCAPE. Examining natural and anthropogenic drivers of the coastal landscape is the key to high quality data on erosion and effectiveness of the sand suppletions. On the two locations not only physical experiments will be done, but also societal factors will be taken into account.

The objective of C-SCAPE is to develop the knowledge and tools needed to assess the feasibility and benefits of sandy strategies for coastal climate adaptation.


Circular maintenance in the maintenance and process industry

Innovative solutions to practical issues, such as preventing repairs and sustainable reuse of equipment, are being sought by carrying out practical research and demonstrations. It looks at reusing electric motors and transformers when renewing installations, sharing little-used maintenance tools and new cleaning techniques that drastically reduce waste water and the use of chemicals.

Furthermore, new, circular business models are being developed for the maintenance sector of the process industry. In each case, the key question is whether a solution is also economically viable and, at the same time, practically feasible for companies.

The project was funded within the Interreg V programme Flanders-Netherlands, the cross-border cooperation programme with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund.



'Dare2Connect - Transparency in shipping cost and Carbon Footprint' investigates making container transport more sustainable and efficient. The aim is to gain insight into the preconditions and build knowledge about the success factors. HZ University of Applied Sciences, HelloContainer, Dacomex, iSHARE/UC Group and Zeeland Connect are the project partners.

The rise of digital, logistics platforms is a game-changer for existing players in the transport market. Online platforms make the transport market transparent by bundling supply and demand. This makes better use of available capacity in the market and reduces costs and prices in the chain. On the other hand, an online platform bundles the demand side of the market and ensures that providers reach a larger number of potential customers. Online platforms are disruptive because they serve users individually and customised on the basis of advanced technology and data - referred to as a user-centric approach - thereby driving out existing parties currently active in them and developing new services and business models based on data. Companies like Bol.com, Zalando, Amazon, Booking and Uber are well-known examples of successful platforms.


In transport and logistics, digital, logistics platforms have so far been limited to part of the chain (port-to-port: port-to-port) or to a specialised submarket (container road transport) due to the complexity of the logistics chain.

This project aims to go a step further and digitise the logistics export chain from 'door-to-port' and let exporters book and manage logistics via an online portal. The premise here is that a shipper can make an optimal choice for its container transport based on cost, efficiency and environmental impact of its transport.

Booking platform

The development of an innovative booking platform for container logistics in Zeeland contributes to a progressive response to current challenges. Besides optimising and making the sector's logistics in Zeeland more sustainable, this project contributes to a broader digital transformation. As digitalisation advances, new opportunities arise for businesses. They are using data collection and analysis tools to keep pace with the evolution of the sector. Innovating technical innovations and bringing developments together ensures that the domain of the Ports and Logistics Knowledge and Innovation Network not only digitises, but adapts to evolve along with it in a digital world. In this way, the project has an impact on the digital transformation of both customers and the sector. This makes the sector in Zeeland less vulnerable, resilient during expected changes and open to new innovations.

Zeelandbrug 1600x400 header


The world over, reefs, built by bio builders such as corals and shellfish, provide important ecosystem services including coastal safety, fisheries and recreation.

However, these reefs are under increasing pressure, and the loss of natural hard substrates is also reducing the biodiversity and productivity of the marine ecosystem. At the same time, there is actually an increase in artificial hard substrate for marine infrastructure, such as dykes, harbours and breakwaters. Because of its good workability and wide applicability, the most commonly used material for marine infrastructure is concrete. However, concrete has major drawbacks such as high CO2 emissions and chemical composition; the creatures that grow on concrete are different from the ones living on natural reefs.

In this project, several partners from both architectural and ecological backgrounds are working on what alternative materials can be used to make marine infrastructure more sustainable while enriching underwater nature.

To answer this question, alternative materials for concrete are produced and tested for conventional properties such as workability and strength. The most promising materials are tested in experimental lab research for the establishment of indicator species, after which the best-functioning materials are combined. Through experimental field research in the Wadden Sea, the Zeeland delta and near Saba (Dutch Caribbean), the development of ecological communities on the test blocks is investigated and a final selection is made. In this way, the ECODAMI project results in sustainable and ecologically optimal building materials that are directly applicable in marine infrastructure.

Hz Waterdunen 2019 Web 25Pr 01

Flipfarm in Waterdunen

To date, oysters in the Netherlands are cultivated at the bottom of shallow waters (i.e. bottom cultivation) or on so-called cultivation tables. Bottom culture oysters are moved twice a year to ensure ideal conditions for growth and to cope with silting. These operations require a lot of vessel movements and manual labour. The cultivation operations can also cause unwanted pressure on the environment.

Consequently, stricter regulations are expected to reduce the space where oysters can be grown. In addition, predators, oxygen depletion and weather conditions are a hindrance and growing concern for bottom cultivation. Alternative production methods based on cultivation tables require a relatively large amount of manual labour in comparison; sometimes oysters have to be shucked up to 15 times a year for the purpose of obtaining a nice shape shell. In addition, cultivation tables also lead to tension in drying areas that are also home to many foraging migratory birds.

Floating systems

This is the reason why this project aims to develop a new cultivation method based on floating systems that allows sustainable cultivation of oysters in tidal environments, with the added advantage of minimising manual labour through (mechanical) automation. The basis of the proposed 'flip farm system' consists of several floating baskets in which the oysters are grown. The baskets are connected by a line. Several buoys and anchors (i.e. grid) keep the breeding baskets at the intended location and height in the water column (matched to optimal algae concentrations). A methodology will be developed to turn the baskets regularly (with minimal labour) for the purpose of obtaining an attractive oyster shape; this will investigate how to efficiently make use of tidal action. In the process, an innovative system will be developed to classify and sort oysters in a smart and automated manner during the process, both during cultivation and at harvest time.


In summary, the envisaged flip farm system consists of three components, which will be developed and demonstrated within this project:

  1. Floating system: The basis of the new breeding system will be a number of floating oyster baskets floating in the upper part of the water column (oyster gully). This is where most of the nutrition (naturally occurring algae) is located and therefore rapid growth occurs. In addition, the floating principle will allow for better control of the cultivation, i.e. less dependent on the state of the tide, as is the case with cultivation tables.
  2. Flip system: To obtain a nice shell shape (which has a lot of market value), the idea is to flip these floating systems with a flip system periodically and fully automatically. This will remove faeces and sharp parts from the shell. The starting point is to let this tilting process take place on a natural basis with the help of tide/current/wind.
  3. Sorting technology: Within this project, new technical sorting technology is being developed to achieve accurate and automated classification of oysters (in all breeding phases) in the breeding process, enabling efficient and smart sorting. Through a pilot in the Waterdunen nature reserve, the project participants J.P. Dhooge BV and HZ University of Applied Sciences aim to demonstrate that:
    - Impact on environment and nature of the new methodology is very low;
    - The system has potential to be further rolled out (in a modular way) in other tidal environments and could serve as a possible alternative to bottom cultivation;
    - High-quality oysters can be grown in a (cost-)efficient and automated way using this method.

Double levee

The system will thus offer the oyster sector opportunities to become more sustainable in economically interesting ways; fewer ship movements, less impact on the environment and nature and less manual labour required. In addition, the project partners see opportunities to link the production activity to multiple use of space and coastal protection technology or 'Double Levee' principle. The space between the two levees will have tides to which this production process can be tailored extremely efficiently. The limited nature impact of the farming process also allows for multiple space use in Natura-2000 areas based on this farming system. The intended flip-farm system thus enables the oyster sector to produce in a commercially interesting and sustainable way in harmony with nature, recreation and the coastal defence of the Netherlands.

The findings will be announced after the end of the project, expected in December 2024, and will be published on the HZ University of Applied Sciences website, among others. Here, the results will remain findable for at least five years after the end of the project. Also, the findings of this project are available free of charge on request to all companies active in the sector or subsector concerned.

The project was co-funded by Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Grant Scheme (SDVA).

Waterkerende landschappen

Geen zee te hoog

This project approaches the development of flood protection strategies as a spatial issue, investigating linking area assignments, application of levee concepts based on Building with Nature (BmN), and developing public support for major landscape changes, through four research questions focusing on:

  • Spatial quality landscape and consistency with support for spatial strategies;
  • Physical and ecological boundary conditions for BmN solutions and incorporation into spatial strategies;
  • Drivers and barriers to support through participatory design processes;
  • Guidelines for development of spatial strategies, both for spatial design and the design process.

The research is elaborated for the Westerschelde, switching between two spatial scales: the Westerschelde (basin-level) and living labs (at three locations). A mix of methods is applied including surveys (Public Participation GIS), interviews, GIS analyses, modelling of BmN co-growth solutions (Delft3D-FM), and evaluation of the 'social learning process' in research-through-design design workshops.

The research results in a methodology/method that can be applied by public professionals in (leveed) coastal areas from 2026 (after the end of current Sea Level Rise Knowledge Programme).

Header studenten HZ GW

Minor Fit for the Future

A Facilitator of Change makes an impact by finding desirable and strategic improvements and bringing others along in the changes. He / she has a broad understanding of the challenge and the different interests and images of those involved. A Facilitator of Change does this from his/her own professional role, such as specialist, entrepreneur, (project) manager, researcher or process manager.

The minor Fit for the Future is based on the principles of Social Theory (ST) of a sustainable, collaborative learning society and Expertise Management Methodology (EMM) as described in We got to move. ST and EMM provide a methodological framework whose research philosophy is critical realism and founded on systems thinking. The framework does not prescribe the concrete methods and techniques to be used, as that depends on the issue to be investigated. Of course, the methods and techniques must be consistent with the research philosophy.

Onderwaterlab Yerseke 23

Underwater Laboratory

Behind the research facility of NIOZ in Yerseke lie 12 concrete basins that are flooded during high tide and easy to reach during low tide. Within these basins experiments are performed on how biodiversity can be enhanced on subtidal, hard structures like dikes or pillars of wind farms. To meet current safety standards dikes need to be reinforced. In subtidal parts this is usually done through adding a layer of rock material or steel slag (a waste product of the steel industry with a high density). These reinforcements are often applied in soft sediment areas or on dikes with a high nature value. These locations often receive special protection due to their high natural value. The hard structures provide shelter for the European lobster and other important target species. Dike reinforcements can only take place when this natural value is preserved or compensated.

The aim of Rijkswaterstaat is to protect the nature value of the subtidal parts of the dike through the addition of 'eco-tops'. These eco-tops exist of a ridge or pile of rocks which facilitate the reestablishment of the target species as well as a sheltered area that allows a faster sediment deposit.