Billions of cubic metres are dredged every year to keep ports and rivers accessible. This material is usually considered a worthless waste product, but it can potentially play a role in the restoration of our eroded tidal zones and help improve our local ecosystem services. Bankbusters explores these aspects in detail.
In progress
May 2021 - May 2024
DBC project

The aim of the Bankbusters project is to enhance knowledge related to ecosystem processes, their conditions and concepts for reusing dredged material, in order to facilitate the restoration of eroded tidal zones and wetlands as well as the improvement of local ecosystem services.

The innovative character of the project lies in the integration of biological and technological aspects for the protection of erosive natural river banks under tidal influence. The accumulated basic knowledge will be applied for the realisation of DRECOs (Dredged Ecological Compartments - conceptual building blocks). In these DRECOs, new techniques and procedures are used for the treatment, installation and dewatering of soft dredged materials.

DRECOs form a basis for the application of Nature-based Solutions (NbS), the reuse and stabilisation of soft sediment, as well as the creation of sustainable erosion protection of river banks. In addition, suitable measuring instruments are developed as well as an approach to monitoring the erosion protection.

As the project’s research area has a highly dynamic, risky, complex and ecological character, tests will first be carried out in a laboratory in the Mesodrome (University of Antwerp). Afterwards, a pilot project will be started in the Scheldt basin to further develop the ecological, technical and economic feasibility.

The project results will support various valorisation routes for the private partners regarding specific bottlenecks and uncertainties concerning the ecological, technical and economic feasibility or reuse of soft sediment and underground monitoring. Moreover, the project results will strengthen the unique expertise of the University of Antwerp and Ghent University regarding habitat development and hydrodynamic and morphodynamical processes.

Partners: DEME, iFlux, Jan De Nul, University of Antwerp and Ghent University

With the support of: VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship)

Contact: Kristien Veys