Safe and Secure by Design Projects 2019

Safety Risks with self-repair

Safely designed. Safe to repair.

  • Julieta Bolanos Arriola (TU Delft - Faculty of Industrial Design)
  • Francesco De Fazio (TU Delft - Faculty of Industrial Design)
  • Ruud Balkenende (TU Delft -  Faculty of Industrial Design)
  • Conny Bakker (TU Delft -  Faculty of Industrial Design)
  • Bas Flipsen (TU Delft -  Faculty of Industrial Design)

In a circular economy, it is important that products can be used longer and be repaired. But self-repair by inexperienced repairers can pose safety risks. To explore new insights concerning these risks research has been done on safety aspects of self-made repairs. The way products are built and how this is related to safety risks has been investigated. The study also looked at how users repair a coffee maker and what safety risks occur during and after repair.

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Safety and environmental impact of the increased use of nanomaterials

The application of Safe-by-Design and Life Cycle Assessment in the design phase of the innovation process

  • Dr. Gijsbert Korevaar (TU Delft – Technology, Governance and Management)
  • Dr Cornelle Noorlander (RIVM)
  • Prof. Ruud van Ommen (TU Delft - Technical Sciences)
  • Dr Lya Soeteman-Hernández (RIVM)
  • Dr. Georgios Archimidis Tsalidis (TU Delft – Technology, Governance and Management)

The industry is rapidly developing innovative nano-materials with applications in a wide range of products. However, the safety and environmental impact of the increased use of nanomaterials is still largely unknown. In this study, life cycle analysis is used to analyse safety and environmental performance early on during the innovation process. The results of the life cycle analysis show where the major risks in terms of safety and the environment can occur during the development of these materials. Based on these results, Safe-by-Design action points can then be identified to make the design safer.

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The use of Directed Evolution

Potential Safe-by-Design Strategies by Directed Evolution

  • W. Teunisse (TU Delft - Biotechnology and Society Group)
  • Dr. Z. Robaey (TU Delft - Biotechnology and Society Group)
  • Dr. L. Asveld (TU Delft - Biotechnology and Society Group)

Bacteria and fungi (such as yeast) can do a useful job, for example we use them to make beer and cheese. Thanks to new discoveries in technical biology (biotechnology), we can better design bacteria and fungi that can do something special. For example, bacteria that make medicines, fuel, or even biodegradable plastic or can break down harmful substances. These new discoveries in biotechnology could sometimes have potential risks. For example, we don't know what would happen if these altered bacteria escaped. They may be harmful to humans or the environment. This study aims at finding answers to these questions.

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Introducing and harboring Safety-by-Design into scientific research

Safety-by-Design as part of responsible research & innovation at Dutch research institutes

  • Dr. Georgy Ishmeav (TU Delft - Design for Values Institute)
  • Drs. Ing. Dick Hoeneveld (TU Delft – Delft Safety & Security Institute)
  • Dr. Pieter Vermaas (TU Delft - Design for Values Institute)
  • Prof. Dr. Ir. Pieter van Gelder (TU Delft – Delft Safety & Security Institute)

Safety-by-Design focuses on safe scientific research, on safer and more sustainable materials, products and processes. And as a result, a safer and more sustainable society. We owe a lot of progress to science, but we also sometimes see that unsafe products are still being developed. This study aims at introducing and harboring Safety-by-Design into scientific research.

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Short-term study on the use of Hydrochloric acid

Safe and Sustainable (Bio)Chemistry with Hydrochloric acid?

  • Ir. Britte Bouchaut (TU Delft - BTS) 
  • Dr. Lotte Asveld (TU Delft - BTS)
  • Prof. Ulf Hanefeld (TU Delft - BOC)

This report reflects the findings of a short-term study on the use of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), also called Hydrochloric acid, in the field of (bio)chemistry. The toxicity of this chemical is weighed against the safety aspects by applying the Safe by-Design framework of Inherent Safety Principles (ISPs).

Read more (in Ducth)

The chemical industry in the Netherlands

On the road to a safer chemical industry through inherently safe design

  • Pieter van Gelder (TU Delft – TPM, Safety and Security Science)
  • Genserik Reniers (TU Delft – TPM, Safety and Security Science)
  • Santiago Echeverri Duque (TU Delft – TPM, Safety and Security Science)

The chemical industry in the Netherlands is a leading business sector, with 19 of the 25 largest chemical companies spread over eight chemical clusters. In 2017, there were nine deaths in the manufacturing sector (the sector that includes the chemical processing industry) (Eurostat, 2019). To be precise, the following incidents took place in the processing industry in the Netherlands between 2005 and 2009: explosions at PerkinElmer (Groningen, 2005), Nerefco (Rotterdam, 2006) and Vopak (Rotterdam, 2008), and fire at Kelco (Nijmegen, 2009) (Swuste et al., 2020). So, from the perspective of inherent security, strategies are needed to make the processing industry safer. 

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Designing implementation strategies

A study implementation strategies for Safety-by-Design at Dutch research institutes

Dr. Pieter Vermaas

The Delft Design for Values Institute and the TU Delft Safety & Security Institute are working on a six months design project aimed at formulating and assessing implementation strategies for integrating Safety-by-Design in safety regulations at Dutch research institutes.

Safety-by-Design (SbD) aims to achieve the integration of safety in the early stages of research and innovation of substances, materials, products and processes. The primary focus of SbD is fostering the values of human well-being and environmental protection. The Delft Safety & Security Institute advances a broader reading that includes creating by SbD societal acceptance and ethical acceptability of technologies. SbD is part of the Dutch governmental environmental policy. With SbD, the government wants to stimulate researchers, designers and companies to take responsibility in risk prevention.

In 2019 the Delft Design for Values and Delft Safety & Security institutes has carried out a study for the Ministry of I&W aimed at charting and analysing the values shared by university researchers and their managers in the existing safety and responsible research regimes at universities. In that study a focus was on 1 Lab Servant, a software tool developed at TU Delft from 2007 onwards, which is currently used at different Dutch universities for managing laboratory safety and environmental permit control for scientific experiments.

The recommendations of this study were to (i) integrate the existing safety and responsible research regimes at universities for lowering the administrative pressure on researcher, and for creating the opportunity to (ii) develop an SbD instrument modelled after Lab Servant. For this development (iii) further research is to be done on how this SbD instrument can be created such that it fosters the values of human well-being, environmental protection, societal acceptance and ethical acceptability, and (iv) hands over information on possible risks of technologies to actors later in the innovation chain.

Designing implementation strategies

The current study executes the recommendations (ii) to (iv). It takes the development of the SbD instrument and a design task and carries out the conceptional design phase by formulating and assessing two to three strategies for implementing SbD at Dutch research institutes as an extension of Lab Servant. This proposed study is a stepping stone to a later final project on defining, building and implementing the SbD instrument.

Research questions

  1. What are viable solution directions for arriving at an SbD instrument through extensions and additions to Lab Servant?
  2. What are the criteria a solution direction for an SbD instrument should meet?
  3. To what extent are the found solution directions for the SbD instrument meeting the criteria for such solutions directions?


1  Ishmeav, G., D. Hoeneveld, P. Vermaas, and P. van Gelder (2019) Safety-by-Design as part of a framework for responsible research & innovation at Dutch research institutes.

Design for Safe Repair in a Circular Economy

Research proposal - Design for Safe Repair in a Circular Economy

Prof. Ruud Balkenende (senior staff)

This project builds upon the explorative research on design for safe repair carried out in the period October-December 2019. In a circular economy prolonged lifetime of products, notably of electronic appliances, is of high importance to both producers and consumers. This maintains product functionality and value over time, while reducing the need for resources. Enabling large scale repair of household products is important to reduce E-waste. However, repair is associated with safety issues. In an explorative research into this topic, we investigated safety in self-repairs by analyzing the repairability of vacuum cleaners and coffee makers. Different types of safety risks were identified by mapping the product architecture, carrying out user observations, and discussing insights with professional repairers. Main challenges that were identified in enabling self-repair were:

  • the minor effect of the provision of safety information to non-experienced repairers (i.e. they don't read, or don't know how the interpret, the manual), and
  • the need to develop failsafe design solutions that improve product repairability while ensuring safety throughout and after the repair operation.

The aim of the research is to identify design approaches which enable failsafe repair of critical components and guarantees the safe use of repaired products. The following topics will be addressed:

  • How is repair safety currently addressed in a range of domestic appliances?
  • How can design be used to make repair of products by non-professionals safe during repair?
  • How can design be used to guarantee safe use of repaired products?

The research approach will focus on non-professional repair of electronic domestic appliances.

  • Research will be carried out on vacuum cleaners and coffee machines (building on the results of the exploratory study) and on washing machines, blenders, and portable CD players to deal with electricity (wired/battery), hot liquids, and rotating mechanical parts. This will build on already carried out research on failure diagnosis and repair and expand this work by addressing safety aspects
  • The disassembly trees of the products will be derived from manual dismantling activities
  • Based on observations of non-professional repairers, actions will be mapped on the disassembly trees of the products and safety issues will be indicated.
  • Safety risks during repair will be identified and rated based on their severity
  • Safety risks that impaired safe use after repair will be identified and rated based on their severity
  • The use of disassembly trees as well as hot spot mapping to identify the relation between product design and potential safety risks will be explored
  • Design features that relate to safety risks will be identified
  • A first set of design guidelines for failsafe design for repair will be developed

Safe and Secure by Design Projects 2020

The transition of Biocomposites into a circular society

Biocomposite: Safe-by-Design for social saftey questions

Dr. Lotte Asveld

The transition into a circular society calls for the regeneration of raw materials from waste streams (Kisser et al., 2020). An example of this is the high-quality lightweight biocomposite 'Kaumera', which is currently being recovered from cellulose fibres and biopolymers from wastewater treatment plants. Kaumera has properties that allow it to be used as an alternative to chemical coatings of concrete, in addition it has the potential to act as a high-quality bio-raw material. This means that infrastructure such as bridges, footpaths, façades etc. can eventually be built with Kaumera. TU Delft (Mark van Loosdrecht group), the AMS Institute and various partners such as BAM, NPSP and ChainCraft are currently working on the COMPRO project, with the aim of developing a prototype of this biocomposite. 1 2 3 

For the development of 'new' building materials, several aspects must be taken into account: technical (e.g. what is technically feasible?), legal (e.g. waste status), economical (e.g. total cost), and social (e.g. what is socially acceptable?). This project focuses on value-sensitive designs of Kaumera infrastructure applications; we aim to identify uncertainties around safety, as well as differing perceptions of safety, and how these findings can be incorporated into the (technical) design process of this material from the Safe-by-Design (SbD) approach.

Research question

The focus of this project is to identify uncertainties surrounding the safe use of Kaumera for infrastructure and any societal concerns involved, and how the Safe-by-Design approach can address these uncertainties and concerns. We want to investigate these questions in parallel with the COMPRO project.


  • Beecher, N., 2015. Public Perception of Biosolids Recycling:Developing Public Participation and Earning Trust. Water Intell. Online 3, 9781780404318–9781780404318.
  • Kisser, J., Wirth, M., De Gusseme, B., Van Eekert, M., Zeeman, G., Schoenborn, A., Vinnerås, B., Finger, D.C., Kolbl Repinc, S., Bulc, T.G., Bani, A., Pavlova, D., Staicu, L.C., Atasoy, M., Cetecioglu, Z., Kokko, M., Haznedaroglu, B.Z., Hansen, J., Istenič, D., Canga, E., Malamis, S., Camilleri-Fenech, M., Beesley, L., 2020. A review of nature-based solutions for resource recovery in cities. Blue-Green Syst. 2, 138–172.
  • Markström, E., Bystedt, A., Fredriksson, M., Sandberg, D., 2016. Use of Bio-based Building Materials: Perceptions of Swedish Architects and Contractors, in: New Horizons for the Forest Products Industry. 70th Forest Products Society International Convention. Portland, Oregon.