Abu Dhabi: Masdar, ADSSC sign MoU for tunnel works
The two entities signed an MoU as part of the Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP), one of the longest pipeline infrastructure projects in the world
The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has partnered with the Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) to ensure the sustainable and safe construction of underground tunnels in Abu Dhabi.
The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as part of the Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP), one of the longest pipeline infrastructure projects in the world.
STEP has successfully laid down 41 kilometres of deep sewer tunnels in Abu Dhabi. The completed tunnels will have the capacity to accommodate a flow of 1.7 million cubic metres of waste water per day by 2030, according to WAM.
Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf of Masdar Institute said: "Rapid urbanisation in the UAE necessitates the development of more underground infrastructure, such as pipelines. However, the environmental impact of underground construction, including tunnels, is substantial.
“That is why it is important to develop a robust knowledge base to ensure that underground infrastructure projects are developed in a way that balances the growing infrastructural needs and the preservation of the environment."
This collaboration will enable Masdar Institute students to receive hands-on training in the field, with access to ADSSC projects such as the STEP site.
This will also support the development of highly-skilled tunnelling experts, whom will be required as rapid urbanisation will place greater demands on underground infrastructure.
Speaking about Masdar Institute’s research experience in the field of underground tunnelling, Dr. Rita Sousa, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said: "We have already developed a novel software program, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is composed of different tools that allow optimal planning, design and construction of tunnels, while considering the different sources of uncertainties that are inherent when dealing with the underground."
"The integrated set of tools allows one to simulate tunnel construction and determine the cost and time for construction, including uncertainties associated with geology and construction. This will help optimise the 3D alignment of the infrastructure," she added.
Dr. Sousa, an expert in geotechnical engineering, is using ADSSC’s STEP as a case study for her work. The MoU signed between the Masdar Institute and ADSSC directly supports collaborative information and sharing of knowledge on the project.