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Engineered for success

bentley, seequent

Combining engineering know-how with subsurface expertise, Bentley Systems and Seequent are helping to deliver energy and infrastructure projects around the world.

Sustainable energy projects are critical to global decarbonisation efforts, but their development is often technically challenging.

Wind farms, especially offshore projects, must be meticulously engineered to strike a balance between optimal location and robustness against strong winds. Understanding the subsurface is also crucial for making these projects sustainable in the long-term.

Developing geothermal resources is similarly complex, with drilling often reaching depths of over 2000m.

The intricacies of these projects make them incredibly expensive, which is why companies are leaning on digital solutions providers to help support their decisions.

That’s where Bentley Systems and Seequent come in.

“With Seequent specialising in the subsurface and Bentley specialising in engineering, we can provide infrastructure owners with the most up-to-date digital information for both above ground and underground infrastructure,” Bentley senior vice president Asia-Pacific Kaushik Chakraborty said.

“We offer an innovative digital engineering solution to help our users determine the most effective locations to place these structures based on subsurface conditions. This solution helps them build for resilience and longevity at the lowest and most effective cost.”

Bentley has long had a hand in bringing offshore oil projects to life through engineering software, with the acquisition Seequent expanded its capabilities to wind and other energy sources.

“The geothermal energy sector has traditionally had to make decisions from limited data, which is partly due to budget limitations as the drilling itself is very costly,” Seequent executive vice president Asia-Pacific Karl Howley said.

“Seequent can provide a range of solutions that help geoscience professionals understand the underground, such as by building conceptual models based on their understanding of the ground, or by analysing acquired data to gain insights.

“This interpretation is key to understanding the driving mechanisms within the subsurface, such as locating geothermal energy sources. Consequently, a lot of conceptual modelling is involved to optimise where our customers might want to drill next or gather more data.”

While subsurface data is critical to identifying long-term, sustainable energy projects, Chakraborty said it is often overlooked by developers.

“From an infrastructure point of view, poor understanding of the underground is one of the principal reasons for project overruns,” he said.

“As an example, in the Asia-Pacific region, there was an attempt to build an underground train tunnel. They started digging and hit a water source, which was not shown on any maps. As a result, an entire tunnel boring machine sank, costing millions of dollars, and they had to start over.

“There are similar challenges in urban areas, where coastal erosion, a changing climate, and shifting ground conditions pose difficulties for projects.

“What we aim to do is help engineering companies understand ground conditions at the design stage so that projects can be delivered on time, within budget, and with as few surprises – if any – as possible.”

When it comes to project planning, Bentley and Seequent are working hard to bring subsurface conditions into the conversation.

Bentley’s Illuminate engineering infrastructure conference, which took place in May, perfectly captured this ethos.

The event focused on adopting new digital strategies in infrastructure planning and delivery to better serve communities and businesses.

These kinds of events, which bring together industry leaders, are an integral part of solving industry’s greatest challenges.

“Projects often do not budget effectively for thorough ground investigations, but they end up paying for it in the end,” Howley said.

“There will always be risks on projects, however, the speed at which we can understand the subsurface, communicate the conditions, and ultimately change or adapt the design is incredibly important.

“Today, with digital tools and software, decisions can be made much faster. We are not reinventing the science of engineering – we are helping engineers become more effective.

“Our goal is to make this software simpler in order to bring in more disciplines and make understanding subsurface conditions more relevant. Project developers might not have considered such things in the past, but now we’ve simplified the entire narrative.”

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