Bechtel’s Senior Ports Specialist Marco Pluijm has announced that analysing natural barrier islands could help to make coastal infrastructure to be more sustainable and resilient.
The new approach marks a huge step-change in the way marine infrastructure is currently designed; as conventional designs are commonly based around studying trends and processes that are hard to predict.
Presenting at the World Ocean Council’s Sustainable Ocean Summit in Singapore, Mr Pluijm said the new approach would help engineers to develop innovative solutions that mitigate the devastating impact of sea-level rise from extreme weather events like hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.
“Natural barrier islands have evolved over thousands of years, adapting their structure to cope with the impact of the sea and natural disasters such as storms and hurricanes,” said Pluijm.
“Looking at nature, we can learn, for instance, which dimensions work best for breakwaters. We can also learn from natural processes, such as the movement of sediment, how to reduce impacts, so that marine infrastructure can be up and running much sooner after an event.”
This new approach could particularly benefit New York (in line with its ongoing Post-Sandy resiliency program), California (in combination with enhanced coastline management and water shortage management), and parts of Africa, to help solve the swell issues and operational limitations in existing ports in that region, according to Bechtel.
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