Geotechnique is by essence closely linked with the planet and its environment, as it deals with rocks, soils, and water, natural resources making up the environment in which structures are constructed, and also used as construction materials. Therefore, any geotechnical project must consider carefully its environmental impact, including by sensible and optimised management of these resources. In this spirit, awareness of Terrasol engineers has been built to search for the technical solutions most respectful of the construction sites of structures.
Examples of concrete projects in the field of renewable energies
- Initiation of a partnership with the Vergnet Group, one of the only French manufacturers of wind generators, the inventor of the dual-blade lightweight wind generator, which lowers its blades in case of weather turbulence. As these wind generators are stabilized by guys anchored by micropiles, Terrasol has developed a method taking into consideration cyclic efforts when sizing the micropiles. Terrasol also follows geotechnical surveying and sizing of foundations for the construction of 120 1MW wind generators in Mekele, Ethiopia.
- Study of the different solutions for foundations of the anchors of photovoltaic panels in open field power plants, for a company specializing in setting up photovoltaic plants: although the vertical ground load of photovoltaic panels is rather small, forces due to the wind do produce major horizontal solicitations. Considering the many supports per site, and the presence of soils which are frequently mediocre, innovating and optimised foundations ensure the project is profitable, while ensuring minimum disturbance of the supporting soil. A comparison between micropiles of the driven profile type, helix shaped mini-piles, and screw piles was produced, showing how each method is the best according to the sites and forces encountered.
The Grande Ravine viaduct project: an example of eco-design
The Setec Group won the 3rd Engineering Prize 2009 for this viaduct project on the Route des Tamarins in the Reunion Island: on the level of the supports, the foundations by bridge abutment wells associated with gentle slope brackets have reduced as much as possible the footprint of the earthworks on the slopes of the Ravine, contributing to the eco-design of this viaduct.
The Sustainable Development through R&D activities
- In the field of cyclic solicitations, Terrasol participates in the SOLCYP research project, a research project on the behaviour of piles subject to cyclic solicitations, a major issue in renewable energy projects.
- Also, Terrasol, together with major companies, universities and project owners (Solétanche-Bachy, SNCF, LCPC, INSA de Lyon, CERMES) participates in the RUFEX research project (approved by the Advancity Competitiveness Pole), on the reuse of existing foundations in rehabilitation of rail infrastructures or buildings.