EU pledges €3.5 million to transform three Indian cities
It has recently been revealed that the EU have pledged €3.5 million to turn three major cities, Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad into sustainable havens, with an aim to combat increased pollution and reduce carbon emissions.
The project is part of a universal agreement following on from COP 21 in Paris (also known as the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015), leading to world leaders universally pledging to work together to combat climate change, increased GHG emissions from current transportation systems and ensure a healthier place to live in cities worldwide. The project is aimed at supporting over 100 cities globally by 2020.
In Indian cities, demographic trends, combined with the rising living standards of the middle class, have led to an exponential increase in the number of personal vehicles and therefore to congestion and pollution challenges. Urban transport accounts for around 20 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions in India and transport sector related GHG emissions are projected to double by 2050.
The €3.5 million agreement was extended as part of the ‘Mobilise Your City’ (MYC) initiative, financed by the European Union under its Asia Investment Facility (AIF).
Ms Claire Thuaudet, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of France to India, said, “I am thrilled that India is one of the very first country to benefit from the MobiliseYourCity initiative. France and India share a vibrant commitment to the fight against climate change and the implementation of Paris Agreement - it was strongly reaffirmed by President Macron and Prime Minister Modi during their meeting in Paris on 3rd June.”
The project’s main focuses are:
- Improving Comprehensive Mobility Plans in Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad;
- Adopting a Measure-Report-Verify (MRV) methodology to follow-up the multiple benefits;
- Registering the benefits at the national level for an easier access to climate finance, notably with registration in the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat.
The expected benefits of MYC include reduced carbon emissions, diminished traffic congestion, better air quality, more inclusive and liveable cities, and improved economic competitiveness of these cities by improving logistics and access to jobs, basic services, education, etc.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of the EU for Bhutan Tomasz Kozlowski said, "Investments in energy, water, waste, climate and smart cities are investments in sustainability and address priorities under the flagship programs of the Indian government. They are part of our strategic partnership between the EU and India as was emphasised again by European and Indian leaders during Prime Minister Modi's recent visit to Europe."
University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building
The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel.
The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university.
The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.
Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel.
The design and shape of The Cube
According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.
"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction.
"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement.
Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint
While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry.