Interview with Karina Peña, Managing Director at Field Factors
"Field Factors provides products & design services for sustainable urban drainage and decentralised water supply."
1. What is Bluebloqs?
Bluebloqs is a compact on-site rainwater management solution for municipalities, industries and companies in urban areas. Rainwater runoff from roofs and streets is collected, treated through biofilters and stored in the underground. The stored water can be recovered for different purposes, for e.g. irrigation, improvement of surface water quality, maintaining pond levels or.
2. What makes your invention a relevant innovation?
Our cities are more and more facing long periods of drought and intense rainfall. This results in flooded buildings and streets, as well as water shortage, heat stress, and declining groundwater tables because of overexploiting consumption. Bluebloqs is a scalable and sustainable solution to these urban challenges, making cities greener and climate resilient. And in contrast to traditional drainage and water supply systems which require several kilometres of infrastructure, Bluebloqs solves rainwater drainage and supply within a range of 20 to 500 metres.
3. What were the most important milestones in the previous 7 months, since the start of the construction of your prototype?
Through the realization and demonstration of the first operational prototype of Bluebloqs, we have achieved TRL6. We produced the prototype by deploying large-scale 3D-printing technology to manufacture the full scale system components which allowed us to test and validate design principles and mechanical properties of the system, such as robustness and stability, water tightness of system connections, water flow rate through the system components, as well as the assembly and installation methods.
4. What were the most valuable lessons learnt?
We have gathered several insights to improve the assembly and installation methods, as well as validated the hydrological performance of the system
5. How did the Green Village supported you in your innovation process?
We received support for the realisation, by bringing us in contact with relevant stakeholders. TGV also helps structuring the process and giving exposure of our solution to possible costumers.
6. What are the next steps
The next steps consist on the construction of an infiltration well in order to test the water quality through the different stages of the system, as well as the treatment efficiency of the biofiltration system using different rainwater volumes and input concentrations. We want to showcase the benefits and application possibilities of Bluebloqs and get feedback from potential customers and end users. Our goal is to find a launching customer to apply the system on big scale, such as in an urban renovation project.
7. Anything else you would like to share?
Through our demonstration at TGV, we are exploring collaboration possibilities with Van Gelder, who is likely going to build the first pilot application of our system at the Sparta Stadium in Rotterdam. Furthermore, we are involved in the initiative Waterstraat, supported by the Water Authority Delfland, through which we can further test other aspects in collaboration with other innovators at TGV.