Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Confronting climate change with technology

Geo-engineering, ways of modifying Earth's environment via technological tools to control global warming, is gaining steam in tackling the climate emergency. An EU initiative gathered researchers to contribute to the state of the art.

Scientists have been employing mechanics, mathematics, physics, chemistry and geology to understand and shape our interaction with Earth. They are intervening in the climate to bring down temperatures through the discovery, development, production and use of sub-surface earth resources, as well as the design and construction of earth works. There is however a lack of scholarship and unproven research for this relatively new science.

Thanks to the EU-funded project 'Geo-engineering exchanges between Europe and Latin-America' (GEO-EXCEL), more than 40 PhD and postdoc researchers and about 20 senior researchers from European from Latin American universities joined forces to help advance geo-engineering through mobility.

Research centred on earthquakes, landslides and flooding by taking into account problematic soils and the influence of climate change on soil degradation.

To deal with these natural disasters, joint activities explored the use of tools such as soil modelling and numerical studies, soil dynamics, mechanics of unsaturated soils and soil-enhancement methods.

The knowledge transfer that was acquired through courses, seminars, workshops and conferences helped develop and expand researchers' know-how. This led to the exchange of novel techniques and methodologies. The complementary expertise also enabled the development of innovative experimental approaches in examining geological materials.

Project outcomes have already been put into practice on the tunnelling infrastructure for a Barcelona underground railway. They can also be applied to other structures, including dam, road and railway embankments.

Europe and Latin America teamed up to ensure excellent and innovative research training as well as knowledge exchange opportunities in geo-engineering. GEO-EXCEL has thus helped to ensure the competitiveness of their respective geotechnical engineering sectors.

Source: © European Union, CORDIS, www.cordis.europa.eu
last modification: 2015-02-18 15:21:31