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Another world is not just possible, it’s already happening.
Created through the combined accomplishments of creative, committed and compassionate individuals focused on a common purpose: impact.
Impact Hub Amsterdam is a launch pad and business Incubator for impactmakers. We offer you a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow your impact.
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Impact Hub is a global network of over 7000 members in nearly 60 cities, with a shared focus on creating real impact. Our members are developing new solutions for diverse challenges in sectors such as Economy & Finance, Infrastructure & Supply Chains, Energy & Mobility, Ecosystems & Natural Resources, Governance, Education & Law, Health & Lifestyle. Join us!
KNOxOUT Europe BV
KNOxOUT Europe BV organised the world's first test of air purifying paint in a tunnel. Henry Sprenkels, founder of KNOxO…
KNOxOUT Europe BV
KNOxOUT Europe BV organised the world's first test of air purifying paint in a tunnel. Henry Sprenkels, founder of KNOxOUT, brought together several companies and the local goverment to pull this off. Once it is proven to work, KNOxOUT will bring the air purifying paint to the European market.
Applause broke out at 5.50 am on April 18th, 2013 in Den Haag’s Koningstunnel. They made it! At six o’clock the tunnel needed to reopen for the morning rush hour. Smiles of relief spread on the faces of everyone who had worked so hard to make it happen: The world’s first test in a tunnel with air purifying paint, called KNOxOUT. Will they be able to prove once and for all that it works?
An interview with Henry Sprenkels of KNOxOUT Europe BV.
Air purifying paint sounds really exciting. What does it look like?
“We used a transparent version in the Koningstunnel, so the paint itself is not visible. Two layers of the clear paint were applied on the ceiling and walls of the last 150 meters of the tunnel, and 170 luminaires, with UV lights to activate the coating, were installed.”
As Henry continues talking about all the parties involved, I’m starting to realize just how special it is that this is happening. “Firstly there were Cristal, a big chemical multinational specializing in titaniumdioxide, and Pacific Paint, a medium-sized family-owned Philippine paint company. Cristal developed an ultrafine version of titaniumdioxide called CristalACTiV and discovered its air cleaning properties. Using this ingredient and working closely with Cristal, Pacific Paint developed a paint and introduced it in the market as KNOxOUT. When activated by UV light, the paint is able to neutralize the nitrogen oxides, or NOx, in polluted air. The first tests were conducted in street canyons in Manila and London, and there the results were a NOx reduction of about 20%, which is considered very significant by air quality experts.
“The Pacific Paint owner wanted to introduce KNOxOUT to Europe, but lacked the experience in developing this market. This is where I came in.
“When I started the business here late 2010, tests had already been done with similar kind of coatings on noise screens along a motorway in an open-air situation by Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Motorway Authority) and the results had just come out. Unfortunately there was hardly any NOx reduction measured leading to a lot of skepticism from the involved parties. Despite this, I continued to believe in KNOxOUT because of the results we had achieved in semi-enclosed areas in London and Manila. I was convinced that we had to apply the paint in an enclosed kind of space like a tunnel or a car park to achieve optimal results. This way we didn’t have natural air dispersion diluting the measurement results, and in a contained environment where air pollutants tend to build up, we would really be able to solve local air quality problems.
“I pursued discussions with different parties, trying to set up a proper pilot test in a setting where a need to bring down NOx pollution was necessary. In that process we were lucky to get in touch with the municipality of The Hague which needed to solve an air quality problem at the exit of the Koningstunnel because the EU air quality norm for NO2 was exceeded there. They particularly wanted to test this technology as an alternative to installing a screen at the exit of the tunnel right in front of houses, which residents would not appreciate. Because of the innovative character of the solution, which the municipality considered unproven, they insisted awarding the project on a no cure no pay basis, but would be willing to invest significantly also by contracting TNO, Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, for the year-long air quality measurements to validate the technology. A unique opportunity, but this meant I had to find partners who would jointly underwrite the EUR 350,000 risk. This was a very challenging and complex process. Last October the negotiations derailed. I had spent 1,5 years working on this and all of a sudden it was over. When two months later one of the partners had a change of heart, it felt like a huge gift.
“In the end, the municipality and the consortium pulled it off together. Philips designed the luminaries with UV lights capable of dealing with the tough circumstances of a tunnel; Heijmans executed the installation in the tunnel; Everts Schilderwerken cleaned the tunnel surfaces and applied the KNOxOUT paint; Cristal provided the CristalACTiV ingredient and the chemistry expertise. As for KNOxOUT, we not only provided the paint but also acted as lead coordinator on behalf of the consortium (another challenging and complex task, especially for a small player with three big players in the consortium). By April next year, TNO will conclude the air quality measurements as commissioned by the municipality.
“It has to be said that the municipality has done and continues to do an excellent job in providing a collaborative environment for such an innovation to take place instead of taking the traditional customer role vis-à-vis the supplier consortium. Collaboration is key in this project because it is the first time that the worlds of paint chemistry, air quality and UV lighting meet, and nobody knows it all.
“The final day of the installation was very nerve-wracking. We had to be done by six o’clock in the morning because then the tunnel had to be reopened. The lights couldn’t all be switched on at the same time because that would blow the fuses. In addition, the tunnel manager was concerned that the light transition would be too abrupt when driving out of the tunnel at night, which is a safety concern and thus takes priority over the trial. At the very last moment a compromise was reached to have a 67% UV light intensity in the last 25 meters. A difficult decision, because this meant that the paint would possibly not work optimally in this section, and the consortium did commit to a reduction of at least 15%. Not reaching that would mean that the five consortium partners (including KNOxOUT) would not be paid the EUR 350,000 we had initially invested.
“Everyone in the tunnel was very cooperative and seemed to want this project to succeed. They were aware of the uniqueness of the situation. It is the first such test worldwide. If we manage to reach 15% reduction or more, this innovation could be used in tunnels throughout the world.
“What I love about this project is that if it works, there really are only winners. The consortium would get paid and have a first reference site for a new global market segment, the municipality will save costs with regards to the size of the screen they would need to erect, and the residents will have cleaner air to breath reducing the health risks associated with long term exposure to air pollution. But most of all, the favorable impact this innovation can make on the environment can only be for everyone’s benefit.
GUTTS is the worlds first supplier of sustainable race fuels. Thanks to the lobby efforts of GUTTS founder Edward Goossens th…
GUTTS is the worlds first supplier of sustainable race fuels. Thanks to the lobby efforts of GUTTS founder Edward Goossens the FIA Junior World Rally Championship 2013 is the first to be held on bio fuel. A huge step forward in the world of car racing.
Edward Goossens from GUTTS explains us how they made this happen.
“I started GUTTS in 2008. In the beginning there was one car, which we fueled with bio methanol. It was a 20-year-old BMW covered with stickers, driven by my brother and me. We weren’t allowed to compete in the Dutch national championships with it. They did however allow us to demonstrate the possibility of green car racing there. And demonstrating we did. We ended up crashing in the ditch, close to Mother Nature.
Cars that participate in a rally have to abide by many rules. There are rules about every little detail, from its size to the fuel it races on. The fuel regulation only allowed gasoline and diesel. Anything else was forbidden. My work in those early years consisted of educating and lobbying. I helped the KNAF (Knac Nationale Autosport Federatie) by working together with partners from the industry to explain the product. We convinced them on the three points important to them: Firstly, the product is sustainable; secondly, it is available for everyone and thirdly, it is safe.
A widespread misconception was that ethanol and methanol burn invisibly. This is not true because they still have some gasoline in it. To show them I set a bucket full of bio fuel on fire. See? It burns. I had to repeat this at least twenty times for different parties. It was like missionary work.
Our approach is that all parties should benefit. I work in a triangular relationship with the regulating unions, the bio industry and the racers. For the union allowing bio fuel means they can profile sustainability. It gives the industry a great platform to demonstrate their products. The racers are happy because the bio fuel actually is faster than fossil fuel. The racers also look at the costs. Bio fuel is more expensive than regular fossil fuel. But it is cheaper than the high performance fossil fuel professional racers normally use, so in this specific field we can even compete in price. That it is sustainable is a bonus for the racers, but this is not the main reason they change fuel.
In 2009 we build the first flex fuel rally car, able to race on different types of fuel. The first bio fuel cup was the 2012 Nissan 350 Z Challenge. After this, the FIA – the worldwide gouverning body of motorsports – showed interest. I did a lot more elaborated research for them, in collaboration with different parties from the industry. There are different kinds of bio fuel and GEM Fuel turned out to be the best. GEM Fuel is a ternary blend fuel containing regular gasoline, bio-ethanol and bio-methanol and reduces CO2 emissions by over 70% compared to regular petrol. This year FIA Junior World Rally Championship switches to GEM Fuel and appoints GUTTS as Official Fuel Supplier.
As the mission furthered, my activities changed. From a researcher and a lobbyist I turned into a producer and supplier of bio fuel, via my webshop. This is a business model that is scalable.
In the future I will continue lobbying in different countries for green motor sport. But with a recommendation letter from the FIA in my pocket, this will be a whole lot easier than before. Our aim is to spread globally and to double our impact in 2 years.”
Carmen van der Vecht
Carmen runs Rambler, a clothing label by and for homeless teenagers. These streetkids are the image and brand. They get a pla…
Carmen van der Vecht
Carmen runs Rambler, a clothing label by and for homeless teenagers. These streetkids are the image and brand. They get a platform and a part of the profit.
Trained as an industrial designer, Carmen graduated in the early ‘90’s, at a time when sustainability was still in an embryonic stage. Carmen worked on a logistical project with farmers in Ghana, strengthening their position in the local market. From following her passion for photography, Carmen started to shoot portraits of children in Ghana’s orphanages, which she later exhibited on giant billboards Amsterdam. By doing so, she tried to bring youth indirect in contact with each other. For the work she did, she was nominated for the prestigious Prix De Rome.
Carmen then chose to go for an opposite environment in London. Sparked by a curiosity to explore a similar situation in a western environment, she started to photograph youth in orphanages in London. This is when her fascination with clothing started. Intrigued by their appearance, she started designing clothes with homeless youth. After a while Carmen realized that she had met her limitations. There was a clear sense of a need for assistance. For instance, she never considered making sales to be one of her fortes, yet she always gets a kick out of the creation phase. The available support out there, in formats of touch-and-go consultancy didn’t prove to be sufficient. She needed someone who was willing to really get his hands dirty. She found this person in her current business partner Tim.
Already being familiar with the Hub in Islington, the moment she found out the Hub was about to start in Amsterdam, she was first in line to sign up for membership. Every Friday for the first year and a half you would find her at the Hub’s lunch table with a group of homeless youth working on the design of their own fashion items. Some of those kids you could find almost hanging from Marcel Wanders’ lamps form pure excitement.
Rambler recently teamed up with Hub member Niels Koldewijn from FairGround for co-designing their new studio on Zeedijk 54 using the Oasis Methodology. This methodology comes from Hub-members in Sao Paulo, the Elos Institute, and allowed the young streetkids of Rambler to co-decide, co-design and realize great concepts for the design of the new Rambler studio.
From a very humble perspective Rambler aims to be just a little piece of positive support for homeless youth, and while doing so have a lot of fun.
Text: Bert Meijers
Elos Nederland uses the Oasis Game - a Brazilian method - to empower neighbourhoods. The game brings profound results in term…
Elos Nederland uses the Oasis Game - a Brazilian method - to empower neighbourhoods. The game brings profound results in terms of people’s self-esteem and the feeling that they can determine their own future.
Elos Nederland is scaling up for a bigger impact. Their goal: serve a larger number of communities and help a larger number of volunteers to participate in the Oasis Game. The Oasis Game is played in empoverished neighbourhoods. We asked founder Niels Koldewijn to describe this transition: what choices did he make, and what implications does it have on the way Elos is organised?
“After 2.5 years of bringing the Oasis Game to Holland – it is a Brasilian method originally – our initiative is turning into a growing organisation. With the Oasis Game we’re supporting communities in realising their common dream (the Oasis) in an accessible, fun and rapid process (the Game). An Oasis game is organised by experienced practitioners and played together with community members & volunteers. In the last two years, we implemented over 10 games in deprived areas in the Netherlands.
Elos grew out of the need to better organise the first practitioners in the Netherlands. From the circle of practitioners we have formed the team of Elos Netherland Foundation. We registered as an organisation. This way we brand ourselves by gathering under one name, constantly evaluate the quality of our work, and form a reliable partner towards the organisations we already had established relationships with. So its form has grown in an organic way, roots upwards.
The growth model is as follows: practitioners bring in money by giving Elos a percentage when organising Oasis Games. At times, volunteers or community members become so inspired they start organising things in their community, some even become part of the community of practitioners. Thus both the circle of practitioners and the circle of volunteers grow. A movement is slowly but surely developing.
Another important step in developing this movement is this weeks’ launch of the Elos Foundation’s official Dutch handbook, which you can preview here. It releases the principles of the Oasis Game from our own hands and puts them into others. It’s a great tool for those that have already been trained in the Game to start taking a bigger part in new projects as practitioners. The handbook will help us to stay co-ordinated while Oasis visits more places and more people come to know about us. The latter seems to be happening without us even knowing about it. For example, the Oasis Game was mentioned in a recent WRR report (Wetenschappelijke raad van regeringsadvies): they mentioned ‘vertrouwen’ (trust) as a new practice in community building using the power gaming. We didn’t know about it until somebody told us!
People have asked if I am not worried that people might use the handbook and apply the knowledge without becoming part of the movement. I see it this way: We’re in a constant capacity building journey where – besides making a healthy social business – we want to continually evolve our skills and knowledge. The learning environment that we co-create has proven to be of great value to the practitioners A handbook is one thing, but it won’t work without practice and experience. Therefore we organise a quarterly community of practice, each time organised by a member of the community. Last time we looked at community gardening where we designed an edible Hub garden at the Westerhuis.
For those looking to become part of this community and learn more about the Oasis Game we organise Oasis trainings, a week-long learning immersion. The latest coming up are in Brazil in the fall and one in the UK at the end of this summer. We would love to have you as part of the Oasis movement. You are invited!”
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