The journey started with a lecture at the prestigious Tsinghua University. TEC gave a lecture to the master students in civil engineering background and shared their expertise on Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) and illuminated the intricate relationship between physical laboratory tests at Delft University and the crucial role of numerical analyses. In the future, the experience on numerical modelling of freezing technology in TBM tunnelling could be also an interesting topic for exchange.
The visit to HPDI was a meeting of minds with all TEC’s old friends since 2008 from HZMB projects, as TEC engaged in discussions about the challenges faced by HPDI and TEC in various projects and markets, which promote more inspiration and new ideas for both parties in response to the differences of experience in tunnel engineering between China and the West. It was an opportunity to explore solutions, exchange ideas, and pave the way for future new way of collaborations home and abroad besides traditional consultancy works, such as jointly promote the development of standards in the international tunnel field.
A site visit to STEDI showcased cutting-edge innovation in vertical drilling techniques for constructing a parking facility with an external diameter of 23m and 19 stories, which is the biggest one in China now. This environmental friendly and high efficient innovation not only impressed TEC but also emphasized the need to be keep developing to keep up with technological advancements.
TEC and STEDI has long cooperation dated since Ningbo Changhong immersed tunnel construction in 1990s. During covid period, TEC and STEDI kept collaboration and communication, such as an online exchange meeting on Digital Twin application in the tunnels of Netherlands and China was held successfully. This time, next to the site visit, TEC and STEDI exchanged the latest knowledge on long tunnel ventilation, structural assessment for old tunnels with advanced non-linear FEA, numerical modelling of tunnel fire situation, etc.
A visit to CCCC4 took us to the building dock, where an immersed tunnel was being constructed and also was used to produce elements for a previous completed immersed tunnel. These two tunnel projects of many immersed tunnel projects in Guangzhou, was topic of further discussion the meeting held to talk about new innovations of tunnel construction technology and opportunities of reusing facilities in different tunnel projects. After mutual trust had been gained in HZMB project, more and more communication kept continuing between TEC and CCCC4, which inspired both parties to explore step by step bigger markets on cooperation in the past years. CCCC4 not only established long term cooperation relationship with TEC on tunnelling and underground engineering, but also with TEC’s mother company “Royal HaskoningDHV” on maritime related business in the whole world.
Both Marcel, Hans and Ying Li actively contributed to a workshop “2023 Innovative Technology Exchange” for Immersed Tube Tunnels” organized by GD Highway Society and undertaken by Guangzhou Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd. More than 100 representatives from GD provincial transportation, highway, municipal, and railway industry authorities, construction management, design, construction, supervision, testing, and universities participated in this event. The event was hosted by Chen Guanxiong, Technical Advisor of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Transportation and Director of the Expert Committee of the Society. This collaboration allowed them to exchange valuable insights between Guangdong and Dutch engineers, contributing to the collective knowledge in the field of engineering of immersed and floating tunnels. It is a very successful event.
In a bid to strengthen international ties and explore opportunities within the Greater Bay Area, Hans, Marcel and Ying visited the Dutch Consulate in Guangzhou. During this meeting to exciting possibilities for collaboration between the Netherlands and China were explored.
After several years of covid restriction without international travel to China, a heart-warming reunion took place as the TEC team met former colleagues from the HZMB project, reminiscing about past challenging difficulties and exciting successes, and discussing future endeavours.
The visit to the innovative research institute of CCCC GD-HK-Macao Great Bay Area was a meeting of minds. This institute is to Conduct forward-looking technological research towards the international forefront and expand international scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation. During the meeting, the reuse of traditional techniques of immersed tunnels and creation of artificial islands were topic of discussion as CCCC is planning to create a large ocean natural environment to grow fish to provide more healthy fish to the Chinese and Asian Market. TEC also presented the latest immersed tunnel experiences. Ideas were exchanged, and challenges facing the future were discussed, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in shaping the world of engineering.
The journey continued with a site visit to the Shenzhong Link, a project of immense complexity featuring a sandwich immersed tunnel structure, two landmark bridges, and an artificial island. With this visit, TEC was informed about the challenges and problems which had to be addressed during the construction of the link. The link will be opened in the second quarter of 2024.
In a meeting of great significance, Marcel 't Hart, animateur, and Jian Liu, vice-animateur of Workgroup 11 (WG11 on immersed and floating tunnels) of ITA, prepared for the upcoming World Tunnel Congress in 2024. They also discussed current business within WG11, highlighting the importance of international collaboration in advancing tunnelling technology.
TEC also met the PCO (professional congress organiser) of World Tunnel Congress in 2024 and the Chinese Journal “Tunnel Construction”. Innovative ideas were discussed to promote more the knowledge development and sharing of immersed tunnelling and floating tunnels for the congress next year in Shenzhen and for China.
This visit to China was more than just a journey; it was an inspiring exploration of innovation and collaboration. TEC remains committed to pushing the boundaries of engineering excellence, forging partnerships, and shaping the future of technology and infrastructure worldwide.