Project overview


Group projects


The Dew Machine – an argument for congruence with nature (Willem de Koning Academy) 

Student researchers:  

Jaime Pechler, Jaycey Duijvelaar and Koen Merkx 

With this machine, we argue that being a slow machine is akin to being more terrestrial and in synchrony with the pace of natural systems.  

The machine works on an abiotic system: the water cycle. Water is present in the bottom chamber (1) to start the loop. A heating pad is situated below the machine, evaporating water. The water vapour will travel upwards to the chamber (2) via steel pipes. Both chambers have humidity sensors; when the humidity reaches 90% in the top chamber, the system will rotate 180 degrees. Once a full rotation has occurred chamber (2) is now on the bottom, starting the cycle again and reinforcing the positive feedback loop. 

Rotations in the machine take a while to activate, creating a tense atmosphere of anticipation in public. This anticipation is the core of the project because the Dew-machine has become the embodiment of our expectation of systems that should work instantly. Yet it's not about our attention span. The machine functions as a metaphor for forever changing expectations of machinery being fast. What is wrong with slow machines? 


End of life solutions 

End of life solutions for batteries (minor CEBI)

Student researchers: 
Guido Swarts, Jarno Pronk, Maryam Aboemara, Felix Galloux, Jeroen Zoutendijk
A&M Recycling develops end of life solutions for many materials, including batteries such as those used in shared mobility programmes. Developing a solution is challenged by the recycling costs of the batteries, the variety in functional capacity, and the large number of batteries involved, however this battery market segment has already grown to an annual turnover of € 116 billion. 
Based on research, a solar powered streetlight seems the most promising solution, taking into account environmental, social and financial impacts. 


End of life solutions for shore cables (minor CEBI)

Student researchers:
Sofi Antova, Ruard Dijkstra, Boudewijn Koets, Joris Lips, Feiko Schraa, Jens Vrolijk

A&M Recycling develops end of life solutions for many materials, including offshore power cables that carry the energy produced by windmills to shore. In the research students examined the composition of the cables, and used the circular activity framework (i.e. the 10 R framework), Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing Assessment to recommend on the best end of life options for this particular material. 


VolkerRail - Rails and railway sleepers – the road to a circular railway (minor circular supply chain) 
Student researchers: 

Leroy Patje and Oscar van der Borden

The (re) design was made for the organization of VolkerRail. As a result of an internal investigation, it appeared that there is an insufficient insight into and control of the material flows. We investigated how material flows can become transparent and manageable. 

Material passports clarify where the material comes from, what it consists of, and what can then be re-done with it. To register material passports, we researched the possibilities of registering with Madaster, which transparently shows material flows.  

We decided to start with the rails and sleepers because these are the foundation of the track. We found that the market is asking for these passports, and there are already several tenders under this principle. The implementation will help not only the organization but also the customer and thus the future. 


Circular start-ups 


Boxonary – Circular moving (minor CEBI)

Student researchers: 
Ana Paula Robles Bernal, Gillean Troenohardjo, Tasha Tromp, Jan van Lynden, Tony Tinni

Boxonary, the name of this circular enterprise that was founded in the minor Circular Economy and Business Innovation found a niche in the moving market, targeting generation Z and the Millenials by offering an alternative to the traditional moving boxes. They designed a more environmentally friendly moving box, the boxonary and put at the centre of a product as a service approach. The boxonary is validated with the target group and the students estimate that break-even point will be reached within two years.  


Circular hubs 


Parksharing – Industrial Park Halfweg-Molenwatering (minor CEBI)

Student researchers:
Sander de Jong, Leander de Stigter, Leonie Dijkhuizen, Rosalie Hodmann, Kay Bouman, Max Hoondert

Industrial Park Halfweg Molenwatering, offering a base to some 250 organisations, seeks ways to increase the circularity of its industrial park. One initiative concerns the Parksharing, a collaborative consumption platform that organisations could use to share resources. The students researched how the current participation of the companies in the park could be increased. Using interviews and the literature, they identified cost savings, familiarity, trust and utility as major motivators that could be tapped into to increase the participation of companies in the parksharing platform, which should be incorporated in the marketing strategy. 


Circular textiles 


Tomatotex- market entry strategy for leather made of agricultural residuals (minor CEBI)

Student researchers:
Desiree Ram, Jordy Royer, Mayssoun Bechaouech, Aicha El Banque, Michelle Kleine, Samrawit Dawit

TomatoTex, in collaboration with circular hub Blue City, Biophilica and Duyvestijn Tomataten has developed a method to make a leather type material out of agricultural residuals of tomato plants. The material contains no plastic, is biodegradable, has a small carbon footprint, but is also less durable than animal leather. The students investigated the market potential for various applications. Product characteristics make it suitable for low material volume products such as straps, bags, and clothing labels. The students developed a market entry strategy for these types of applications. 


Vegan leather – market entry strategy for leather made of leaves (minor CEBI)

Student researchers:
Dominique Choufoer, Elif Dikbas, Dirk Holland, Eline van der Kooij, Femke Vogel, Thomas van Roessel

Biophilica collaborates with Den Ouden Group (developer of sustainable solutions using green residuals), Remo and Blue City to develop a suitable alternative for animal leather. The material uses leaves and a special procedure to make a leather type material out of fallen leaves. Currently they are running a pilot to produce 500 M2 material. The students where tasked to identify the most profitable market for this type of vegan leather. Based on the research, the researchers recommend focusing on the market of leather items for leather shops. With improved production processes, and lower production costs, the market for leather processors come in sight. 


Material Sense Lab – market entry strategy for a bio-composite (minor CEBI)

Student researchers:
Isa van den Heuvel, Iris Hendriks, Sean Dams, Lisa Petmecky, Sabrin Tabib, Cynthia Pepping and Mitchell Creton

Material Sense Lab develops innovative solutions for different residual remainders. In this particular project it concerns leather residuals of the production process of the automotive industry, where 40% of the leather is considered waste. Material Sense Lab had developed a new material combining leather waste and PHBV, a fully degradable bioplastic made from organic waste streams such as sewage sludge, industrial wastewater and food waste. The market for biocomposites is expected to grow offering good opportunities for this new type of material in particular for protective personal equipment and design and office furniture. 


Eigendraads – the future of valueless textile waste (minor CEBI)

Student researchers:
Celine van de Berg, Pepino Schoonen, Fabian Fengler, Melanie de Vries, Yuki Perez-Kayano, Qiaoying Chen, Cynthia Pepping and Mitchell Creton

Valueless textiles are non-re-wearable, least profitable disposed textile items.  In the Rotterdam area alone, 75,5 million kg of textiles is discarded per year via textile bins of collectors such as the Reshare (The Red Cross Army), Sympany, the municipality and others. These textiles are then sorted to be sold to the secondhand market (white stream), exported to be sold in other countries (grey stream), or downcycled or burnt (black stream). The students researched if chemical recycling is a viable solution for the grey and black streams. They examined the suitability of the feedstock for chemical recycling by examining the fiber composition of the discarded materials, and size of the feedstock for recycling purposes; they interviewed various chemical recyclers to determine the match between recycling method and fiber composition and investigated the market potential. Findings indicate that about 48% of the black stream consists of cotton, while 48% of the grey stream consists of polyester. About 64% of the examined textiles is a blend of two or more fibers, which is considered to be most difficult to recycle.  Two chemical recyclers are identified who are able to recycle blends. The market potential looks promising. 


Individual projects




The dark side of fashion

De Vries, Melanie (2021). The dark side of fashion. Rotterdam: Hogeschool Rotterdam.

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. The industry puts enormous pressure on recourses, the pollution of the environment, and shocking negative social impacts. Trends indicate that the impact of the current fashion industry will increase dramatically. If nothing changes, there will be significant catastrophic consequences in the future. So, change is necessary. This E-book has, therefore, been written with the aim of creating awareness and encouraging behavioural change among consumers. The E-book describes the current fashion industry. How is it possible that the industry has become so polluting for people and the environment? Subsequently, the second part describes the current negative impacts on people and the environment per stakeholder. This part consists of quite shocking details of the industry. It reveals severe issues in the fashion industry is and how it can be improved. The final part provides useful tips on how consumers can contribute to the fashion industry's transition. 


Circular product design

Dijkstra, Ruard (2021). Circular product design. E-book on tools and strategies for circular product design. Rotterdam: Hogeschool Rotterdam. 

As the world is shifting towards a circular economy, designers learn about circular product design as it is not just about designing a product. A designer now has to design a system and environment where the product or service has to exist. Also, a total new business model must be considered in order to make it all profitable. The design also determines what will happen to a product during and at the end of its life cycle. This E-book presents tools, frameworks and design strategies that can assist product designers looking for the right circular product design strategy and hopefully, it will guide them into the right direction. 


Circular Economy in the Brewing Industry

Holland, Dirk. Circular economy in the brewing industry. Rotterdam: Hogeschool Rotterdam.

This e-book thanks its conception to a combined passion for brewing and sustainability. Concepts that are dealt with in this e-book pertain to the origins of brewing, modern days brewing process and the issues that arise from this. Furthermore, trends that are happening in the industry today are discussed. This includes how breweries integrate the circular economy concepts to serve their bottom-line and improve the ecosystems for people and wildlife who occupy them.  


Being conscious at home – redesigning your kitchen to be more circular

Petmecky, Lisa (2021). Being conscious at home – redesigning your kitchen to be more circular. Rotterdam: Hogeschool Rotterdam.

If you as an individual are questioning your position in the transition to a circular economy, you have come to the right place. You can make many changes in your own life that can reduce your impact on our planet and enhance the life of society in the long-term. Some of these changes can happen in the kitchen. 

My passion for cooking and sustainability has inspired me to write my first e-book. Shocked by the little involvement expected from individuals in achieving a circular economy, I was motivated to write a piece on how YOU can redesign your kitchen to be a more circular place in your home. This e-Book provides an extensive guide that touches upon grocery shopping, storing food, our food consumption, and reducing waste. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more.  


The connection between music and greenhouse gas emissions

Van Lynden, Jan (2021). The connection between music and greenhouse gas emissions. Rotterdam: Hogeschool Rotterdam. 

Music is something intangible, and therefore it can be hard to imagine it has such a tangible impact in our environment. In this e-Book, Jan van Lynden shed light on a part of the music industry that rarely gets the stage, namely the greenhouse gas emissions.   

This book is written from the perspective of the artists and shows how their music, and how these sources of income contribute to the GH emissions produced in the music industry. The book dives into the biggest contributors and provides an explanation, the impacts and how to mitigate these. The book offers a good read to those without any knowledge of the industry as well as industry experts wishing to education themselves on the topic.   


Literature reviews


Focus on the state of CO2 industrial usage in 2021

Galloux, Felix (2021). Focus on the state of CO2 industrial usage in 2021. Hogeschool Rotterdam. 

This study presents the various aspects of the CO2 usage market. Indeed, climate pressure has made CO2 one of the critical resources of the 21st century. Governments have committed themselves to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, which has led to its taxation and increased its value. In addition to reducing emissions, new technologies have made it possible to capture and store CO2. This access to huge quantities of CO2 has questioned the current model of industrial use of this resource, which has been considered waste for a long time. But things are developing slowly, and the market for the industrial use of CO2 will remain marginal if the infrastructures and institutional framework are not put into place. Therefore, it is time for governments to assess the potential of these technologies to take advantage of what could become one of the leading solutions in the fight against global warming.  


Mobility as a service

Hohman, Rosalie (2021). Mobility as a service. Hogeschool Rotterdam. 

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems is an emerging trend in response to growing mobility issues in urban areas. Product/service systems, like MaaS, are business models suited for the circular economy as they influence companies to create more durable products and customers only pay when using a product. Main elements of MaaS are ticket and payment integration, mobility package and ICT integration. Moreover, the three transportation modes used in MaaS systems are micromobility, public transport and cars – via ridesharing and -hailing. The implementation of MaaS schemes has challenging factors, like the different stakeholder perspectives and roles. Other challenges are the necessity of solid business models that include sustainable value capture. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic could create a policy window that would accelerate MaaS schemes worldwide.  


Is the circular economy the way to sustainability?

Robles Bernal, Ana Paula (2021). Is circular economy the way to sustainability? Current limitations and suggested solutions. Hogeschool Rotterdam. 

This literature review presents an overview of the limitations presently impeding the transition to a circular economy (CE). The methodology initiated with a search of articles from reputable sources on a key-word basis equal or synonym to 'circular economy' and 'limitation'. Key results were divided into three categories of limitations: CE's concept, CE's processes, and the current society processes limitations to the transition; and one category on suggested solutions. All things considered, it can be noted that CE is at its early stages and often presents an overly optimistic vision while evaluating performance through limited scopes. Further research possibilities involve all domains, and at all levels – especially including studies with large scopes and empirical data – and focusing on net environmental sustainability on a project basis and with results that remain flexible to future development paths.  


Graduation theses  


Architecten houtbouw overzicht. [Dutch architects timber building overview]

Sultan, Karina (2020). Architecten houtbouw overzicht. [Dutch architects timber building overview]. Institute of the Build Environment. Hogeschool Rotterdam.   

 Due to the major housing challenge, excessive CO2 emissions, climate change and targets, something must change in the building industry. Trees prove to be an ideal building material primarily because it stores CO2. Because of this, interest in timber construction has increased among architects and engineers. Only problem is there is little knowledge about massive timber construction in the Netherlands. So how can Dutch architects be stimulated to build more with timber? Karina Sultan researched a wide range of information: from books to webinars and interviews with experts. As a result, she created a timber building overview for designing apartments. This overview is called the Architecten HoutBouw Overzicht (in short AHBO). This 9-page overview contains basic knowledge that can help an architect: from global information about benefits, to more specific construction guidelines. Building with timber is needed to tackle climate change, so let us start moving towards a better-build future!  




Isa van de Heuvel – How to make your closet more circular. 

Jens Vrolijk - Circular strategies