Biobased earth-retaining structures
In order to protect banks from erosion, retaining structures are normally realized: for this purpose, materials such as steel, concrete or treated wood are used. Tropical hardwood can be an option as well, but it has to be imported from very far outside the Netherlands.
Considering that North-European countries have more than 25000 km of waterways and that the Netherlands itself has 6000 km of rivers and canals, more sustainable alternatives need to be investigated.
A possible solution can be found in roots of plants and vegetation, which are known for their beneficial properties in holding and stabilizing soil from erosion and shallow landslides. If the roots of plants and trees can fully or partially stabilize the slopes of stream banks, the current practice of using concrete, steel and timber sheet pile walls can be replaced with sustainable, carbon friendly biobased retaining systems.
The described process is time-dependent and consists of the following phases:
This project is developed with the support of the European Commission via the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN-ETN) project TERRE 'Training Engineers and Researchers to Rethink geotechnical Engineering for a low carbon future' (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015-675762).