BRIGAID: Getting innovations in disaster resilience on the market

A city is under water. Wooden boards, benches and litter is floating on masses of water through the streets. On a sloping spot a heavy branch picks up and drives exactly towards a temporary barrier. It hits hard, but the barrier holds.

This sceanrio from the Dutch company “Tubebarrier” has already been tested in practice. In contrast to sandbags and plastic barriers, the flexible PVC pipes of the Dutchmen are filled with water, which enables a higher resistance to flotsam. In practice, the safe zone behind the barricade remains dry. With other barriers it might have been differently.

Bridging the Gap between innovations and the market

Tubebarrier is one of about 120 innovations presented on the website of BRIGAID's "Climate Innovation Window". BRIGAID is a 4-year project (2016-2020) funded by EU Horizon2020 and aimed to effectively bridge the gap between innovators and end-users in resilience to floods, droughts and extreme weather. The Climate Innovation Window (CIW) serves as a marketplace for innovators and consumers.

 Bas Jonkman is professor of integral hydraulic engineering at the TU Delft and co-coordinator of BRIGAID. (c) TU Delft

Bas Jonkman is professor of integral hydraulic engineering at the TU Delft and co-coordinator of BRIGAID. (c) TU Delft

“The CIW is the meeting place and “virtual shop window” for innovations, investors and aims to become the EU portal for innovations on climate change adaptation.” Bas Jonkman is professor of integral hydraulic engineering at the TU Delft and co-coordinator of BRIGAID. His research interests include flood risk management and the design of hydraulic infrastructures such as flood defences and storm surge barriers.

Hazards are increasing in the European Union

“The Climate Innovation Window selects innovations that tackle a specific hazard”, Jonkman says. “It is a quick way for project leaders to select innovations to hazards concerning them most”. Floods are not the only problem threatening many cities in the European Union. The summer of 2018 was especially dry causing droughts in many party of the EU. At the same time extreme weather incidents occure more often and heat - especially in cities - is increasing.

At the CIW page many projects focus on certain hazards. “QoAir” is a blockchain-based system for heatwave management in urban areas, the “Wildfire Defense Platform” utilizes Drones to monitor wildfires in Portugal.

Going for market readiness

All projects, from “Tubebarrier” to “QoAir” or the “Wildfire Defense Platform” are marked with their current development status on the “Climate Innovation Window”: The Technical Readiness Level (TRL).

The TRL scale consists of nine levels where each level characterizes the progress in the development of a technology, from the initial idea (Level 1) to the full uptake of the product into the marketplace (Level 9). The objective of BRIGAID is to provide innovators with guidance to develop testing plans which increase the TRL of an innovation and its potential for market uptake.

The project officially ends 2020 but there might be enough parties interested to keep it running afterwards. “I hope it remains”, Jonkman says. “It is a meaningful project.”