Our Research Themes & Projects



Sponge City Development

The sponge city development is a topic that is being promoted very substantially in PLUS. Most recently, there were very intensive discussions on this topic with experts from Tsinghua during the PLUS consolidation workshop in April 2018. Meanwhile, the efforts of the joint application for research funding have been successful. It is therefore very encouraging that already in the start-up phase of PLUS joint research on this topic is taking place, which is financed by the German and Chinese sides. The Sino-German KEYS project has been running since 1 August 2018. The project, which is financed by the German Ministry of Education and Research, serves to implement the Sponge City Concept in the Tongzhou district of Beijing. Together with Tsinghua University and numerous Chinese implementation partners, the German science and practice partners will work together on the topic and, in particular, implement numerous demonstrations in the project area. The KEYS network is led by Leibniz Universität Hannover. On the Chinese side, Tsinghua University and here Professor Zuo from the School of Environment are in charge.

Since August we have been working together on this topic in the KEYS project under the CLIENT umbrella. Please also find here a LINK to the associated CALL for proposals of the MOST requesting a GERMAN contribution to the Chinese Mega Water Projects (compare Paragraph 6 in the call).





Eco-Friendly Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater treatment has always served to protect our water resources and our environment. PLUS takes a particularly responsible approach to this issue. Therefore, Chinese and German partners are working together on more environmentally friendly wastewater treatment processes, such as deammonification. Since the start of the sino-german KEYS project, financed by the German Ministry of Education and Research, this cooperation has been given a new basis. Together, existing plants will be examined for optimization potentials, innovative cleaning concepts will be developed and approaches will be devised to integrate the wastewater treatment plant into the Sponge City concept. With the concept of the underground wastewater treatment plant, the Chinese side is breaking new ground in eco-friendy wastewater treatment. A special research focus lies on the wastewater treatment plant Bishui in the Tongzhou district of Beijing. Built into the underground in 2017, this highly innovative wastewater treatment plant purifies the wastewater of a rapidly growing urban area. To keep a high cleaning standard and to ensure an eco-friendly treatment of the wastewater, the sino-german cooperation is working on innovative treatment concepts und new operational strategies for the wastewater treatment plant Bishui.

Operation & Maintenance of Sewer Systems

Hundreds of Chinese cities are highly vulnerable toward urban pluvial floods and the consequent surface water deterioration due to due to insufficiently efficient drainage infrastructures. Leibniz University Hannover and Tsinghua University worked together with further partners to shape tailor-made strategies, techniques and policies for stormwater management and treatment will support better flood prevention and control. In line with the Sino-German cooperative project SIGN the implementation area of tghe joint efforts were the Yangtze Delta and here specifically the cities of Wuxi and Jiaxing. The SIGN-CATCH subproject of LUH (as part of SIGN) had two focal points. The first priority was the “harmonisation of urban development in interaction with urban water management”. The second focus was on “increasing the resilience of urban areas to climate change”.



Plastics are important contributors to aquatic and marine pollution across the globe. Thus, plastics and microplastics in particular are considered as a significant environmental problem both in Germany and in China. A few years ago, the environmental pollution caused by microplastics came into the focus of public attention and quickly reached the expert forums of urban water management. A very important goal of PLUS is to discuss and share knowledge about previous, current and prospective research on microplastics. Thus, we applied at the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGC) to get financial support to hold a symposium dealing with microplastics. The concrete aim is to give highly qualified German and Chinese scientists the opportunity to comprehensively discuss the occurrence and fate of microplastics in the urban water cycle and to assess significant entry paths of microplastics from urban spaces. These critical reviews will be used as a basis for discussing possible solutions, especially in the field of urban wastewater management.

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