PIONEERS IN RAINWATER REUSE AND SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Karina Peña and Wilrik Kok, founders of FieldFactors, were inspired in 2016 by a recurring problem they observed from their small office in the heart of Amsterdam: waterlogging caused by rainfall. As architecture graduates with a deep interest in water technology, they saw an opportunity to make a significant change. Their mission became the development of a circular water system that not only addresses waterlogging but also contributes to a natural water cycle in the city.
"We often saw that water in the city couldn't drain away, and we thought: this can be done differently," says Karina. Together with Wilrik, she was inspired by the natural water cycle, which they translated into urban areas. Karina says, "Our primary goal was to bring back the natural water cycle to the city and make smarter use of rainwater."
A revolutionary water system
After extensive testing in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology, they developed BlueBloqs. It is a combination of rainwater purification and deep infiltration techniques that purify large volumes of rainwater and store them underground for reuse as an alternative freshwater supply.
Karina enthusiastically explains: "With our system, we have found a revolutionary way to purify rainwater, store it underground, and then reuse it. This is a significant change, as water is usually pumped into the sea." The technology is now being used at eight different locations. One of the most remarkable projects is in Diergaarde Blijdorp Rotterdam, where 9 million liters of rainwater are collected annually and directly reused in the park. This saves 9 million liters of drinking water per year.
Fountains with rainwater
FieldFactors, now a team of ten enthusiastic employees, continues to develop and improve its technology. Karina says: "In addition to the projects in the Netherlands, we are also working on an exciting pilot in Madrid. Here, we want to replace the drinking water used for urban ponds and fountains with purified rainwater." A crucial part of their technology is the H2Q Dashboard, a cloud platform that provides users and managers with insights into the water quality and performance of their circular water systems.
Ready for investors
The startup is now seven years old. Karina says: "The water sector is conservative, and it took some time to convince people of our product." Due to recent growth, the team felt the need for targeted help. "We participated in the BeStart program to grow into a scale-up. The support from Novel-T during the program has been incredibly helpful. Now, we are better prepared to engage in conversations with investors," says Karina.
Making a worldwide impact
With their ambitious plans, including a project in Mexico City, a city facing subsidence due to water shortages, FieldFactors aims to expand its impact. Karina concludes: "That upward trend that is often promised when you start a business is not guaranteed. There are many ups and downs, but I am grateful that as a team, we have always persisted and are now making an impact every day."
"With our system, we have found a revolutionary way to purify rainwater, store it underground, and then reuse it."
Karina PeñaCEO FieldFactors
FieldFactors is dedicated to creating green and healthy cities through the implementation of sustainable, circular water systems. This Dutch startup is at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management with its groundbreaking BlueBloqs system. It offers an efficient and circular solution for the purification, storage, and reuse of rainwater. By preventing waterlogging during heavy rainfall and addressing issues such as drought, heat stress, and soil subsidence, their system is making a tangible impact.