An online clean technology database

UNEP Risoe Centre

The UNEP Risoe Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development (URC) supports the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its aim to incorporate environmental and development aspects into energy planning and policy worldwide, with special emphasis on assisting developing countries. URC is the main implementing partner of UNEP for the Technology Needs Assessment project. 

Supported technologies

© ClimateTechWiki and respective owners Artificial Sand Dunes and Dune Rehabilitation

Naturally occurring sand dunes are wind-formed sand deposits representing a store of sediment in the zone just landward of normal high tides (French, 2001).  Artificial dunes are engineered structures created to mimic the functioning of natural dunes. 

Dune rehabilitation refers to the restoration of natural or artificial dunes from a more impaired, to a less impaired or unimpaired state of overall function, in order to gain the greatest coastal protection benefits.

© ClimateTechWiki and respective owners Seawalls

Seawalls are hard engineered structures with a primary function to prevent further erosion of the shoreline.  They are built parallel to the shore and aim to hold or prevent sliding of the soil, while providing protection from wave action (UNFCCC, 1999).  Although their primary function is erosion reduction, they have a secondary function as coastal flood defences.

The physical form of these structures is highly variable; seawalls can be vertical or sloping and constructed from a wide variety of materials.  They may also be referred to as revetments.

© ClimateTechWiki and respective owners Sea Dikes

The primary function of sea dikes is to protect low-lying, coastal areas from inundation by the sea under extreme conditions (Pilarczyk, 1998a).  Dikes are not intended to preserve beaches which may occur in front of the structure or any adjoining, unprotected beaches.

These structures have a high volume which helps to resist water pressure, sloping sides to reduce wave loadings and crest heights sufficient to prevent overtopping by flood waters.  They may also be referred to as dykes, embankments, levees, floodbanks and stopbanks.

© ClimateTechWiki and respective owners Storm surge barriers and closure dams

Storm surge barriers and closure dams are hard engineered structures with a primary function of preventing coastal flooding.  Their secondary role is to shorten the required length of defences behind the barrier.  This reduces the risk of defence failure and reduces the cost of providing the additional defences.  Surge barriers are movable or fixed barriers or gates which are closed when an extreme water level is forecast in order to prevent flooding.  Closure dams are fixed structures that permanently close off a river mouth or estuary.  For these and fixed barrier

© ClimateTechWiki and respective owners Land claim

The main objective of land claim is neither erosion nor storm reduction.  The aim of land claim is instead, to create new land from areas that were previously below high tide.  However, if land claim is designed with the potential impacts of climate change in mind, measures can be taken to reduce the exposure of these areas to coastal flooding.  For example, in Singapore and Hong Kong, there are enforced minimum reclamation levels to account for future SLR.