Monthly Archives: January 2014

Halcrow chosen to design 11km Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk


Engineering consultancy Halcrow has been named by Nakheel to head up development of The Boardwalk – a bustling new attraction that will span the crescent of Palm Jumeirah’s artificial archipelago.

Unveiled at Cityscape 2013, The Boardwalk will convert the protective crescent of Palm Jumeirah into a singular dining, shopping and walking destination, adding to this already global attraction.

Covering the entirety of the crescent, Nakheel will create The Boardwalk by building over the rocks of the Palm’s breakwater. It will be 6m wide – more than double the width of the existing crescent path – with more than 20 concessions offering refreshments and souvenirs throughout its 11km length.

The Boardwalk will include an East and West Pier – each stretching 100m into the Arabian Gulf at each end of the archipelago – offering extensive views of the Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai skyline.

A Nakheel spokesman said: “The Boardwalk at Palm Jumeirah – one of several new Nakheel projects underway on the island – is the latest example of the innovative design and engineering projects that we are known for. The new attraction will provide yet another unique facility for Palm residents, the wider UAE community and the millions of tourists who visit Dubai each year.”

Nakheel expects to start tendering for the construction of The Boardwalk in Q2 2014.


Richard Greenan

Mott MacDonald explains why Kusile is one of the most advanced coal-fired power stations in the world

Mott MacDonald PDNA are delivering sophisticated water treatment facilities for one of the world’s largest power stations to cut sulphur dioxide emissions by 90% and eradicate liquid effluent.


South Africa’s state-owned utility company Eskom produces 95% of the country’s electricity and almost half that of the entire continent. But power generation is stretched to capacity, leading the company to invest in a series of bold new projects – including the 4.8GW Kusile power station, which will be one of the world’s biggest coal fired power stations. The facility comprises six 800MW units, scheduled for phased introduction from 2014 to 2018. Its boilers stand 115m tall and its chimneys tower 220m into the sky. During its eight year construction, the project is expected to be the largest single stimulus to South Africa’s economy, creating thousands of jobs.

Water is fundamental to the power production process, used to generate electricity, to control temperature and to treat waste. Eskom is keen to make the most efficient use of water possible in a region where it is scarce. The company has also set out a ‘zero liquid effluent’ policy to protect the natural environment. These requirements call for sophisticated wastewater treatment and purification processes that help make Kusile one of the most advanced coal fired power stations in the world.

Eliminating liquid effluent:

Electricity is generated when superheated steam is forced through turbine blades. Feed water is repeatedly cycled through the system and must be kept pure to prevent build up of mineral deposits when it turns to steam. Purifying the water also reduces the risk of the water becoming acidic, which would corrode metal components. At Kusile, almost 1600 tonnes of water will be purified per hour.

Purification produces brine which is often released into estuaries to mix with seawater. But at Kusile, the brine will be treated in a further process that will convert it into dry salt suitable for landfill disposal.

Cutting SO2 by 90%:

Water is also important in flue gas desulphurisation (FGD), a technology that reduces emissions of sulphur dioxide – SO2 – which results from burning coal and which causes air pollution and acid rain. It is being used for the first time in South Africa at the Kusile plant.

The FGD technology being put to work at Kusile removes pollutants from flue gases in devices called wet scrubbers. These spray the gases with a slurry of water and pulverised limestone. The droplets absorb sulphur dioxide molecules, preventing more than 90% of SO2 leaving the chimneys. The resulting waste material is used to make drywall lining and ceiling materials.

Although most water loss in the power station is caused by evaporation, the FGD process does produce some wastewater, which is highly contaminated and must be treated in a dedicated facility.

Intelligent safety systems:

As Kusile is a fully automated plant, Mott MacDonald had to design bespoke systems to run the water purification and treatment operations that would fit seamlessly into the overall plant design. One of these is the automated sample analysis process, which uses leading edge technology to analyse water purity. The system provides immediate analysis of samples; by continually measuring water quality, operators can detect problems before they arise.

The Mott MacDonald team used an intelligent 3D computer model to assist with scenario planning. The model plots outcomes depending on specific operational conditions to mitigate the risk of accidents. It enables accurate hazard studies, which improves efficiency and safety for operators and maintenance crews.

Benefits now for local people:

As this is the first time FGD technology has been used in South Africa, the project calls on specialists from the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy and Hungary, where the process has been used for many years. But local suppliers and skills are being extensively used too: 40% of the workforce and over 50% of materials are sourced locally, with particular attention given to developing skills in engineering, construction and quality assurance.

Kusile statistics:

90% of sulphur dioxide emissions cut

Zero liquid effluent policy to protect the natural environment

1600 tonnes per hour of water purified

40% workforce sourced locally

50% materials sourced locally



Written By admin 
January 23, 2014 10:05 am
Posted In ENERGY

Winner selected for Salford Meadows Bridge

Salford City Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced the winners of a proposed new pedestrian bridge across the River Irwell.


Tonkin Liu with Arup fought off a strong shortlist which included Atelier Zündel Cristea, Paris; Mott MacDonald with Moxon Architects, Altrincham and London and Wolfgang Buttress Studio with Toby Savage Design Limited and LDA Design, Stockport.

The site for the new bridge – The Meadows – covers around seven hectares and forms the northern section of the Irwell River Park (IRP) project.

The proposed new bridge will play a crucial role in connecting this important site to the £650 million redevelopment of Salford Central including Chapel Street, which has recently undergone an award-winning  £10 million transformation, the University of Salford, and the historic Peel Park.

Renato Benedetti, McDowell + Benedetti, RIBA Adviser said “Tonkin Liu with Arup are worthy winners – their unique bridge is poetic, innovative and elegantly engineered with sinuous curves seamlessly linking the Meadows with the new public space to be created. Its sculptural qualities ensure it will be a joy to look at and to use, becoming an inspirational new urban marker for Salford.”

Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said:  “The winner’s entry clearly stood out for its bold design. It could become an iconic centrepiece for the area. We will now be working with our partners to find the funding to create this stunning new bridge in the heart of Salford that will add to the city’s global reputation.”

Mike Tonkin of Tonkin Liu commented on their win “We are very excited about taking forward our project on this beautiful site, a place-making project that encompasses architecture, landscape and cutting-edge engineering. Our biomimetic design has grown out of many years of research with Ed Clark’s engineering team at Arup and will bring together many facets of our fascination with nature.”

McDowell + Benedetti recently won the WAN Transport Award for their Scale Lane Bridge in Hull.

This competition was issued by the WAN Business Information service.

Written By admin 
January 22, 2014 13:34 pm
Posted In Bridges

“Planecopter” plan to boost disaster infrastructure


Recent catastrophes, such as the devastating typhoon Haiyan, have made apparent the need for advances in critical disaster relief infrastructure. To address the problem of accessibility during natural disasters, a multinational group of designers and researchers have teamed up to develop a new aircraft that could bring aid to stricken areas in all manner of conditions.

The Extremely Short Take Off and Landing On Any Surface (ESTOLAS) scheme proposes an aircraft design incorporating aeroplane, helicopter, hovercraft and blimp characteristics. Built with large amounts of composite materials, this extremely light quick disaster response craft could make use of unprecedentedly short runways. Additionally, ESTOLAS’s featherweight body can be filled with helium, opening up yet further avenues manoeuvrability.

estolas 1

ESTOLAS even includes skis and an inflatable skirt reminiscent of a hovercraft, which will allow the craft to traverse practically any surface. Alexander Gamaleyev, the project’s head coordinator, states that the largest model of the craft could carry a potential 440-ton cargo to disaster-hit areas, and be able to come to rest in an area of just 175 metres of open space.

Prototypes show two fan blade engines providing the craft’s chief propulsion, but with no mention of the power units to drive these engines. ESTOLAS has however recently moved out of the concept phase and is currently being tested for airworthiness in wind tunnels and other simulations.

After this testing, a remotely controlled model of the craft will be put through a series of test flights. ESTOLAS has floated April 2014 as a date for the involvement of industrial and venture capital partners to take the project to the next stage.

Below you can find a brief video illustrating the craft’s design in 3d.

Richard Greenan

Super-crane on 6,000-mile voyage to build colossal new bridge for New York

One of the largest floating cranes in the world, the Left Coast Lifter, now dubbed the “I Lift NY”, has been making an epic sea-passage from California to New York. Once there, it will be used to construct a super-size new bridge that will replace the deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge that currently crosses the mighty Hudson River.

Pulled by tugboats, the super-crane left the Port of Oakland on 22 December 2013, and has just passed through the Panama Canal to continue its sea voyage up the east coast of the USA to New York. It is expected to complete its 6,000-mile journey as early as the end of January 2014.

I Lift NY

Formerly used to build the San-Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, the “I Lift NY” has a boom length of 328 ft and a 1,900-ton lift capacity. This is said by New York State’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo to be the equivalent of 12 Statues of Liberty in weight at once. He claims this Herculean lifting capacity will shorten construction time on the new bridge by months and save millions of dollars.

Once “I Lift NY” arrives on site, it will be used to lift prefabricated sections of the new bridge weighing between 900 and 1,100 tons into place. It will also be used to demolish the old bridge.

After frustrating delays and indecision about whether to build a new bridge or repair the existing 1955-built one, in 2011 the Tappan Zee Constructors consortium finally secured the $3.9bn design-build contract for the new cable-stay bridge.

The eight-lane bridge, designed over two parallel spans, will span the 3.1-mile stretch of river between Westchester County and Rockland County. According to the New York Times, 1,000 steel piles of up to 6ft in diameter and 300ft long will support the new bridge.


The article explains: “To make sure the piles can hold the weight of the daily traffic – 138,000 cars – workers delicately set a barge on top of the piles, fill it with water until it weighs 7mn pounds, adjust that force with hydraulic jacks, then test the piles for several days to see if any shifting takes place.”

By the time the bridge is finished in 2018, 400 engineers will have contributed to it, and construction workers will have put in 6mn hours of labour. It is designed to last for at least 100 years.

Gail Taylor


See this link for a list of companies behind the project that form the Tappan Zee Constructors.


Atkins awarded civil engineering contract for US’ Orlando International Airport expansion plan

As Orlando International Airport prepares to move forward with its $1.1 billion expansion program, Atkins has been selected to provide civil engineering design services for the Automated People Mover (APM) complex that will be developed to the south of the main airport terminal.

Orlando International Airport is the 13th busiest airport in the nation, originally designed to accommodate 24 million passengers annually, but currently handles more than 35 million including 1.8 million international arrivals. The work on the south airport APM complex is one of the first steps in upgrading the airport’s capacity to handle an expected 40 million passengers by 2016.

Joe Boyer, Atkins’ CEO, North America, said: “This is a project of great magnitude for one of the largest and busiest airports in Florida. Our aviation business has a qualified team of professionals with the knowledge and expertise needed to successfully handle the demands of this project.”

According to Craig Sucich, Atkins’ group manager, “This contract presents many demanding opportunities including a construction-management-at-risk delivery method, fast-track construction, sustainable design, construction safety, and phasing planning. Our team is up to the challenge since we have successfully completed similar projects at major airports throughout the country.”

Atkins is the primary provider of all civil engineering work on the project and will support the primary architecture design team in designing all elements of the APM complex. Site elements will be designed to be incorporated into a proposed new south terminal, the development of which has not yet been determined.  The current plan is to design the APM in such a way as to eliminate or minimise potential future integration or upgrade-related costs and impacts to airport operations.


Development of the south airport APM complex will relieve passenger capacity constraints in the main (north) terminal complex and serve as a connection from the main terminal to a 2,400 space parking garage structure being built as part of the APM complex. Atkins will be responsible for designing new roadways, bridges, utilities, and grading and drainage.

Atkins has worked at 36 of the top 50 airports in the United States and has done so for more than 50 years. In the last five years Atkins has managed more than $1 billion of runway-related construction projects.

PositivEnergy Practice is Engineer for Astana EXPO 2017

PositivEnergy Practice (PEP) is pleased to announce its role as the Energy, Mechanical, Electrical and Civil Engineering team supporting the implementation of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s (AS+GG) competition-winning master plan for EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Credit: PositivEnergy PracticeBased on the ‘Future Energy’ EXPO theme, the AS+GG master plan presents a strong vision for the first ever constructed ‘Third Industrial Revolution Community’, an example of environmental, economic and social sustainability. Renewable energy technologies, including wind, solar and earth, will be incorporated into the development, a global model for the design and operation of next generation smart grids, distributed generation technologies, and energy storage in future cities.

Split into two phases, the 174 hectare project will feature exhibition and cultural pavilions; a residential development; service areas including shopping, socio-cultural, educational and civic facilities; parks; and parking. Construction is expected to begin by April 2014.

The first phase will see construction of the exposition buildings on a 25 hectare site. At the heart of the Expo site is the Kazakhstan pavilion, surrounded by international and theme pavilions, a performing arts center and congress center. The second phase will finalize the Third Industrial Revolution City with conversion of the Expo buildings into an office research park and the development of a sustainable community beyond the Expo site, including an additional 700 residential units, as well as office buildings, hotels, local markets, and civic and university facilities.

PEP will provide site infrastructure and civil engineering design to support the project’s highly ambitious sustainability goals, focusing on a closed loop approach to resource consumption and reuse.  PEP will also provide the design for the highly efficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing/fire protection and low voltage systems for the numerous buildings across the site.  Finally, PEP will lead the engineering design of the site-and building-based renewable energy generation and storage technologies tied together by a smart grid infrastructure.

PEP will implement a parametric modeling platform and visualization dashboard that will be exhibited in the constructed EXPO 2017. This platform will demonstrate to visitors the flow of energy across the Expo site and show how energy technologies are working together in the smart grid of the future.

AS+GG’s design was selected as the winner of the international competition that featured 105 entries from all over the world. Astana was chosen by the International Bureau of Exhibitions to host EXPO 2017, which is anticipated to draw participation from more than 100 countries and attract up to 5 million visitors from June through September 2017.

Written By admin 
January 20, 2014 16:17 pm
Posted In ENERGY

Resumption of work on two large Greek motorway projects

A total investment of €3.1 billion
More than 10,000 jobs generated
Set to open to traffic by the end of 2015

Following three years of intensive work with the Greek government and its financial partners, VINCI announces the resumption of construction work on the 365 km motorway between Athens and Tsakona and the 240 km motorway section between Maliakos Bay and Kleidi.

The two concession projects underwent in-depth restructuring that made it possible to complete their refinancing in December 2013 and to resume construction work at the beginning of 2014. The two projects account for a total investment of €3.1 billion (Athens-Tsakona: €1.8 billion, Maliakos-Kleidi: €1.3 billion).

VINCI Concessions is a 30% shareholder in the Olympia Odos company, which holds the concession for the Athens-Tsakona motorway, and a 15% shareholder in the Aegean Motorway company, which holds the concession for the Maliakos-Kleidi motorway.

The resumption of these projects, which are crucial to Greek infrastructure competitiveness, illustrates the long-term strength of the public-private partnership model, notwithstanding cyclical fluctuations. In addition, the projects boost local economic development. The resumption of work with a view to opening the motorways to traffic by the end of 2015 will account for about 10,000 direct and indirect jobs during peak construction. Motorway operation will consolidate about 1,000 jobs.

Disaster-resilient infrastructure for Bohol

bohol footbridge

Disaster-resilient housing solutions for the earthquake-struck Philippines province of Bohol have been submitted by the NGOs Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga. The quake, which registered 7.2 on the Richter Scale, destroyed Bohol’s bridges, schools, roads and churches.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development assistant Central Visayas director, Nemia Antipala, met with Governor Edgar Chatto to discuss disaster-resilient proposals: “Their design would be best suited for that eventuality. It has been predicted that every year, there will be stronger and stronger typhoons. So that is something we have to plan for,” she told the press in December.

Bohol suffered damages to the tune of P7.862b in the storm, with 8,083 houses lost and 34,527 damaged. 64 evacuation centres have been installed, with tents for over 40,000 displaced families supplied by various agencies. NGO headquarters also served as makeshift shelters. Bohol must be equipped with houses to endure winds of up to 220km/h, as part of Chatto’s proposed four-year rehabilitation and recovery plan for the province.

President Aquino inaugurated Abatan’s temporary steel bridge during his visit, which connects the towns of Maribojoc and Cortes. Two new bridges, Disamparados Bridge along the Tagbilaran north road and Tultogan Bridge in Calape town, will be built as part of a road and bridge construction scheme that will cost around P138 million.

Image shows a temporary bamboo footbridge making it possible for people to cross Abatan Bridge in Maribojoc town, Bohol province.

Mumbai’s International Airport unveils its sumptuous new terminal


Mumbai has been making world headlines following the recent inauguration of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s new Terminal 2 by India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. The impressive new $2bn facility’s first international flight is scheduled for 12 February 2014, with domestic operations expected to commence next year. Once fully operational, Terminal 2 will handle up to 40 million passengers a year.

Owner-operator, GVK Power and Infrastructure’s Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) hopes the opulently designed Terminal 2 will rival other international terminals of note, including Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The new facility accommodates 50,000 sqm of check-in halls, 188 check-in counters and 52 boarding gates with 10,900 seats.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was lead architect, structural engineer and MEP engineer on the project, with construction services provided by local contractor, Larson and Toubro. SOM’s greatest challenge has been that of restricted ground space, as Mumbai’s infamous slums tightly surround the site. The answer was to build vertically in an ‘X’ formation, with the resulting 410,000 sqm building being set over four levels and combining international and domestic functions.

One of Terminal 2’s most innovative design features is that of the long-span roof, which covers a total of 70,000 sqm – one of the largest roofs in the world without an expansion joint. Just 30 internal columns – whose design was inspired by India’s national bird, the peacock – support the roof. Another defining feature is the cable wall exterior cladding system. At over 1 km in length and 11,000 sqm in area, it is now the longest and largest of its type in the world.

Great importance has been accorded to Terminal 2’s striking aesthetics. The hall is lit by 1,000 lotus-shaped imported chandeliers (the lotus being India’s national flower), with 30,000 sqm of skylight – enough to cover Wimbledon’s Centre Court six times over – providing plenty of natural light as well. A green-roof area features lush landscaping, with some 80 different plant species. Inside, nearly 7,000 cultural artefacts are displayed along 7,432 sqm of art walls.

Gail Taylor