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Masdar Institute Partners with Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company to Build Human Capital and Improve Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Program

The Masdar Institute and the Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will enable knowledge sharing and advanced research to ensure the sustainable and safe construction of underground tunnels in Abu Dhabi.

The MoU is directly related to ADSSC’s Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Program (STEP), which is the largest pipeline infrastructure project in the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. STEP has successfully laid down 41 kilometers of deep sewer tunnels in Abu Dhabi. The completed tunnels will have the capacity to accommodate a flow of 1.7 million cubic meters of wastewater per day by 2030.

The MoU was signed by HE Mubarak Obaid Khamis Al Dhaheri, Deputy Managing Director, ADSSC, and Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute.

Dr. Al Yousuf of Masdar Institute said: “Rapid urbanization in the UAE demands the development of more underground infrastructure like 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 between meeting growing infrastructure needs and preserving the environment.” to ADSSC’s Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Program

Al Dhaheri of ADSSC said: “This collaboration with Masdar Institute supports the ADSSC’s goal to proactively coordinate with relevant authorities in order to deliver infrastructure to the highest standards while enhancing sustainability.”

This collaboration will enable Masdar Institute students to receive hands-on training in the field, with access to ADSSC project sites like the STEP site, which will in turn support the development of a cadre of highly-skilled tunneling experts who will be critically needed as rapid urbanization will place greater demand on underground infrastructure.

Speaking about Masdar Institute’s relevant and practical research experience in the field of underground tunneling, 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 allows optimal planning, design and construction of tunnels while considering 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 cost and times of construction, including uncertainties associated with geology and construction, which helps optimize the 3D alignment of the infrastructures.”

Dr. Sousa, an expert in geotechnical engineering, is using ADSSC’s STEP as a case study for her work. The MoU signed between Masdar Institute and ADSSC directly supports collaborative information and knowledge sharing about the project.

Erica Solomon
News and Features Writer
22 January 2017

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