Wij Inholland: Tropical Island

Tropical Island

A self-sufficient island in the North Sea where tourists can swim, go fishing and enjoy delicious food and drink. Four students from Inholland Delft (Ronald Berk, Nona Speur, Sander Akkermans and Lex Visser) have come up with the idea of an island which offers plenty of sustainable entertainment. At the same time, it will be an ideal testing ground for creative students who are working on food, nature, energy, the living environment and more.

Ronald, Lex and Sander are studying Landscape and Environment Management (LEM) and Nona is a Food, Commerce and Technology (FCT) student. At first glance it might seem an odd combination of studies, but it is an extremely logical one for their Tropical Island project. The project was prompted by the company Tata Steel, which has a large site in the coastal town of Velsen-Noord. Ronald: 'Tata Steel produces a huge amount of residual heat, you could use it to heat half of Amsterdam.' As pipelines to the capital are not an option, the company is looking for alternative destinations for the surplus energy and therefore believes that an artificial island in the North Sea offers potential.

Tourist attraction
The Inholland students are convinced that this new part of the Netherlands could become a genuine tourist attraction. Among other things, they envisage a large subtropical swimming paradise, a small port for fishing boats and an artificial coral reef. 'The plan is very innovative and makes it possible to combine the desired functions in the North Sea', says Ronald. During the study, he was responsible for looking into the energy supply, Lex researched the opportunities for tourism and Sander thought up the best construction method for the island. Finally, Nona tracked down the most suitable food sources.

Algae and seaweed
The aim is to make the island as self-sufficient as possible. For this reason, there will be dome greenhouses with a tropical climate where visitors can pick their own fruit. Nona: 'Tourists really enjoy eating regional products, so all the food will be grown on and around the island. Options include saline agriculture, algae and seaweed.' She looked for the latest multifunctional solutions: 'Sea bass will be bred among the wind turbines and the fish will be conditioned to stay where they are using sound. Furthermore, mussel beds will also serve as breakwaters.' Nona is carrying out additional research into collaboration between private and public parties with regard to sustainable food production for the island using residual heat.

Students and nature will benefit
Ronald hopes that their project will win the Wij Inholland award, bringing them more attention as a result. 'Other students, such as those from Civil and Structural Engineering, could expand on the Tropical Island project. The project encourages innovative thinking and responds to many social issues in the areas of sustainability and a biobased economy. Students would therefore benefit greatly from the further development of the plan.'

Wij Inholland
The students have been nominated for the Wij Inholland award 2017. Wij Inholland offers students an opportunity to distinguish themselves with an innovative project. To be eligible, a project must be innovative in relation to one of the following themes: healthy, sustainable or creative. Other criteria require that the project is multidisciplinary, has an added value for the region and that it involves cooperating with a business, institution or municipality. The winning project group will receive help in implementing their project, such as promotional support or access to an extensive network of businesses in various sectors.

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