Harnessing Australia’s Natural Resources to Power Infrastructure

The move to sustainability in construction and infrastructure is a trend that is inevitable and welcomed by the team at Civil Project Partners. We asked the team to tell us about the innovations and trends that they see becoming a reality for projects in the years ahead.

Harnessing Australia’s Natural Resources to Power Infrastructure

With experience in international and Australian projects, Katie Sommerfeld has experienced the challenges of working in remote locations and believes that in a nation of Australia’s scale, the use of renewable energy has the potential to support infrastructure development.

“I think there is an opportunity for wind-powered street lights to be used in conjunction with solar (and battery storage) on a greater scale in Australia in rural and coastal areas.  When working in Fiji, we imported marine-grade pedestrian solar lighting bollards from Australia for a site where the electrical connection was problematic and subject to tidal affected flooding.”

Outside of roadways, Katie also believes that this approach is ideal for lighting public spaces, ensuring safety and access while reducing the cost of life and environmental impact for asset owners.

“This sort of lighting is perfect for parks and pathway safety where the point of supply and associated connection works otherwise become the greatest cost. Along with comparative cost, I would be interested to see the life of the glow-in-the-dark line marking and whether there are any issues with safe disposal upon the end of life.”

As for the next evolution, Katie believes that we are a little way off solving some practical issues associated with new technologies, particularly in the use of photovoltaic pavements.

“As for using the travelled paths of roadways for energy harvest and widespread sensoring equipment, my first thought is that this is too prone to damage and difficulty when it comes to road maintenance and standard processes like overlaying and patching.  Perhaps surfaces with less loading and ease of access are better suited to these technologies at this point in time.”

One thing is sure, as technology evolves and opportunities exist to bring new approaches to projects, Civil Project Partners will be assessing the best options to provide solutions that work, enhance the life of a project and balance cost with benefit.

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