Sustainable Urban Delta

Sustainability was the central theme of the Netherlands’ largest innovation event, Innovation Expo, which took place on 14 April 2016. This edition’s subtitle was ‘Sustainable Urban Delta’. A green, creative megacity leading the way in developing innovations like photonics, autonomous cars and bio-based production. The Netherlands raised its profile as a living lab for innovations with impact.

Technological breakthroughs

Under the Sustainable Urban Delta banner, Innovation Expo invited participants to develop solutions for global challenges. Solutions in areas like water management, energy, food production, transport and logistics, as well as health care, life sciences, construction based on circular economy principles, IT, robotics, bio-based materials, social innovation and the environment. At the Expo 200 exhibitors and 25 keynote speakers presented technological breakthroughs and innovations that make a difference.

Innovations in a variety of areas.
(All smaller pictures in this news item: © Innovation Expo 2016)

The breakthroughs and innovations on show included:

  • SolaRoad, which converts the sunlight that shines on road surfaces into electricity, transforming the road network into a limitless source of green energy.
  • Shell, which is developing a quiet, zero-emission car that runs on hydrogen and generates electricity.
  • TU Delft, which is developing a concept in which stationary cars in a car park can be used to produce electricity.
  • Trees with a luminous coating, as a sustainable alternative to street lighting.
  • The iGreen ‘plant bag’, a back-pack containing a plant, a built-in ventilation system and a scarf with a filter for people suffering from the effects of city smog.
© Innovation Expo 2016

Sharing knowledge

There is international demand for the knowledge that the Netherlands, as an urban delta, has built up over the years and for the innovations we are developing. These offer solutions for urban areas while at the same time creating jobs. The Netherlands is keen to share its knowledge during its Presidency of the EU. This is why the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations joined forces with the business community, knowledge institutions and civil-society organisations to hold this biennial Innovation Expo.

The solar-powered boat ferrying the environment ministers to the expo.
Some of the self-driving cars in which the transport ministers arrived.

Visit from EU ministers

Start-ups, CEOs, academics, ministers and innovators all mingled at the Expo. Prime Minister Mark Rutte interviewed 6 promising innovators, while Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp opened the Biobased House and sign Green Deals and City Deals. Infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz and environment minister Sharon Dijksma visited Innovation Expo in the afternoon with the Transport and Environment Councils, as part of the joint informal meeting of these Council configurations. The transport ministers arrived in autonomous cars, the environment ministers in a solar-powered boat.

Innovation Expo welcomed over 5,000 visitors, including foreign trade delegations, Dutch business representatives, academics, students and policymakers. Together, they are working to achieve technological breakthroughs and innovations in the interests of economic growth and improved quality of life.