Biomimicry for coastal eco-cities: towards a carbon neutral Dover, UK

A. Deshpande, A.L. Goh, Adriaan Goossens, S. Javdani

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In 2004, the 30-year update to the 1972 report ‘The Limits to Growth’ has reiterated the Malthusian proposition that current industrial practices could lead to a sudden and uncontrollable decline in population and industrial capacity. Today, rising sea levels, biological extinction rates and soil degradation all point towards the world being in a state of overshoot. The most vulnerable cities are those on coastlines, which face flooding risks. As such, it is imperative that coastal cities develop into coastal eco-cities, which aim to reduce environmental impact, improve human well-being and life, and stimulate growth through a harmonious relation between the land and the sea. Dover is the focus of coastal eco-city development in this book due to its role as one of the UK’s main trade gateways with continental Europe. As a busy international commercial port, Dover produces significant carbon emissions, arising from high levels of transportation activity. In addition, a flood risk assessment concluded that Dover port has low risk of flooding due to geological protection from the white cliffs. Therefore, the focus is to work towards a carbon neutral Dover. In this respect, this book looks at solutions using biomimicry, the practice of developing sustainable human technologies inspired by nature. This book identifies two most significant means of reducing Dover’s carbon footprint, namely through the use of renewable energy and carbon management. The development of a 2.4 MW near-shore marine energy harvesting plant using the Oyster Wave Power technology at the port leads to estimated savings of 3200 tonnes of CO2 per year. This offsets the port’s carbon emissions by about 25%. A 40 MW Oyster farm along the white cliffs also protects the cliffs from coastal erosion on top of providing energy. In terms of carbon management, the eco-cement concept produces calcium carbonate from carbon emissions and seawater at the CEMEX Dover plant. Calculations show that 0.5 tonnes CO2 is sequestered per tonne of eco-cement, while CEMEX emits 0.612 tonnes CO2 per tonne of conventional cement. This implies that eco-cement could possibly reduce the industry’s effective CO2 emissions to 0.112 tonnes CO2 per tonne of cement. Indeed, the transition to a carbon neutral Dover is a challenging long-term process. It requires an active decision to switch to systems thinking and re-design society’s way of living. Nonetheless, it is of utmost importance that leaders in politics, industry and academia collaborate to bring about a world that is not only functional and sustainable, but also deeply desired by all.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSouthampton
PublisherUniversity of Southampton
Number of pages101
ISBN (Print)9780854329717
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameLRF Collegium 2013 series
PublisherUniversity of Southampton
No.vol. 4


  • METIS-303588
  • IR-90711


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