AMS Green Junkie

Exploring added value of a new green innovation for an economical vital city

Amsterdam, as many other cities, suffers from high particulate concentrations which have a negative impact on the air quality and the health of citizens. In this project we will analyse the effect on the particulate concentration of the special developed plant Green Junkie. MyEarth has bred a variation of the Honeysuckle, with extra hairy and scaled leaves and claims its extra particulate reduction in comparison to other plants. This project will test the effects onsite in one of Amsterdam’s hotspots that are vulnerable for traffic-related air quality problems due to being closely located to the highway and building construction sites.

Problem statement
Amsterdam is the centre of a large metropolitan area with high population density and key economic activity. Land is scarce and traffic movement is high. As a result, Amsterdam, as many other cities, suffers from the high particulate concentrations caused by traffic and other sources, which has a negative impact on the air quality and the health of citizens. Especially along highways and large construction sites, high concentration of particulates is found. For an excellent economic climate, environmental issues like air pollution have to be reduced to enable Amsterdam to compete with other attractive economic hotspots in Europe and beyond. Therefore, it is crucial to find sustainable solutions in order to improve the air quality and the quality of life.

It is known that plants may decrease the amount of airborne particuls pollution, especially when the leaves of the plant are more hairy and scaled. Corporation MyEarth has cultivated a special plant species named Green Junkie, a variation of the Honeysuckle. The dense and longer hairs on the leaves of the Green Junkies are expected to capture larger quantities of particulate matter compared to other plants, thereby contributing to a better air quality for greener and liveable cities. From a recent review on the scientific literature on urban vegetation and particulate air pollution it appears that both the plant species and the spatial design of the area determine the effect of plants on air pollution.

The claimed positive effects of the Green Junkie vegetation on the outdoor air quality have not been proven yet. This will limit the large scale application of the Green Junkie on city scale. Therefore, monitoring of the effects is crucial.

This project will survey the potentials of the plant Green Junkie on air quality. Our goal is to analyse what the effects of the Green Junkie is on the particulates in air. First we will analyse the effects in a controlled situation, a wind tunnel. Additionally, it will be tested whether this effect can be found in a living lab condition in Amsterdam.

The claimed effects of the plant are related to the actual application in a concrete situation with specific spatial design, which will define the impact in practice. (The effect multiplied by the application defines the impact). We will start with a quick-scan in order to analyse the effects of the special developed vegetation Green Junkie on the outdoor air quality in a dense traffic and urban living environment. The location of the Green Junkie has a considerable influence on the effects. Parameters such as airflow, traffic, weather conditions and density of the vegetation will influence the potential effects.

When the positive impact of Green Junkie on fine particulates will be explored, this vegetation can become a practical instrument to improve the quality and liveability of the city. Thereby we are focussing on the improvement of the quality of life.

Project duration: January 2016 – ongoing

This project is a collaboration between MyEarth, Wageningen UR, Alterra WUR, Amsterdam Engineering Bureau and Roofscapes.

Project leader + contactperson:
Charlotte Lelieveld, PhD MSc, Business Innovator Alterra Wageningen UR
Phone: +31 6 2318 2214

Sacha Stolp, Ingenieursbureau Gemeente Amsterdam (Amsterdam Engineering Bureau)
Phone: +31 20 251 1477

Related information:
Speciale kamperfoelie moet fijnstof langs A10 opeten, Het Parool (Amsterdam daily newspaper, in Dutch)
Fijnstofplant moet luchtkwaliteit langs A10 verbeteren, website Amsterdam Economic Board (in Dutch)
8 projects selected for stimulus funding AMS Institute, news article website AMS Institute

This project is an AMS Stimulus Project. The aim of Stimulus Projects is to give to new and existing AMS partners support to innovative research that has a strong upscaling potential. The projects should realize short-term research output, which act as a catalyst of a new solution direction, concept or approach.