Great South Wall: DPC and UCD join forces on pioneering eco-engineering initiative


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In an innovative collaboration, Dublin Port Company (DPC) and University College Dublin (UCD) announced a groundbreaking project aimed at enhancing biodiversity along the historic Great South Wall.

This world-first eco-engineering initiative combines ecological principles with engineering expertise to create a sustainable solution for marine ecosystems.

Traditional man-made structures like seawalls and rock armour are essential for protecting ports and harbours; however, they often lack the biodiversity of natural rocky shores.

UCD researchers, in partnership with DPC, aim to bridge this gap by implementing large habitat units along the Great South Wall.

Blazing a Trail

Inspired by a natural topography design from Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork, these cutting-edge habitat units are the first of their kind in eco-engineering.

Researchers at UCD took charge of a significant study within the Ecostructure project to examine the biological complexity and physical structure of natural and man-made coastlines in Ireland and Wales.

The development and fabrication of engineering-quality habitat units and wall panels were greatly influenced by the application of photogrammetry techniques as discovered in this study.

By merging natural terrain with eco-friendly concrete in the design of these units, carbon output is decreased and biodiversity prospects are increased.

The collaboration between UCD and DPC involves cooperative efforts with CubEX and MODULAR Cubed in their respective industries, illustrating the significance of academic research in addressing real-world challenges.

The effectiveness of these marine habitat units in promoting higher levels of biodiversity on the Great South Wall will be rigorously evaluated by scientists over two years.

The comprehensive investigation of various marine organisms, such as crustaceans, molluscs, fish, and seaweeds, is a significant aspect of this groundbreaking project. By gaining a deeper understanding of their ecological requirements and behaviours, researchers aim to develop effective eco-engineering strategies that foster thriving ecosystems along the Great South Wall.

The historic Great South Wall, a remarkable feat of engineering completed between 1720 and 1795, holds the distinction as Europe’s second-longest seawall next to that in South Korea, encompassing approximately 5km in length.

The project aims to incorporate eco-friendly habitat units into the Great South Wall as part of Dublin Port’s sustainability efforts.

The groundbreaking partnership between University College Dublin (UCD) and Dublin Port Company (DPC) sets an exemplary precedent for future collaborations between educational institutions and industries, with the power to revolutionize the landscape of sustainable infrastructure projects.

By skillfully merging ecological wisdom with engineering ingenuity, we can develop long-lasting, adaptive, and richly diverse ecosystems that not only preserve critical infrastructure but also enhance their resilience against environmental challenges.

The ongoing collaboration between UCD and DPC holds immense promise for the future, inspiring innovative projects that could potentially transform our approach to infrastructure development and environmental conservation.

The integration of these innovative eco-engineered habitat units into the historic Great South Wall marks an essential milestone in our journey towards sustainable infrastructure development, fostering a thriving ecosystem while safeguarding critical port structures.

The successful implementation of this innovative collaboration between UCD and DPC marks a pivotal moment in the realm of eco-engineering and has the potential to revolutionise the field of eco-engineering by providing valuable insights to the scientific community, inspiring replication around the world, and demonstrating the importance of integrating ecological principles into engineering solutions for sustainable, thriving ecosystems within critical infrastructure like ports and harbours.

Pioneering a novel approach to infrastructure development, UCD and DPC join forces in an unprecedented collaboration that merges cutting-edge research with practical industry application, paving the way for eco-friendly ports and harbours worldwide.

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