COWIfeature No 6 2003 UK - IT in Civil Engineering. Aalborg ...

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COWIfeature No 6 2003 UK - IT in Civil Engineering. Aalborg ...

COWI’s international magazine - February no. 6 2003Young researcher:Wood-chip heatingcould be bigRoads should bebuilt to MozartMore metro in May


Big ships stranded like beachedwhales on India’s mud banks. Sent tobe broken up by European shipowners.Barefoot, unprotected workers performingdangerous, dirty work. Now Europe is onthe lookout for shipyards to break up ships ina responsible way. In a recent report to theDanish Environmental Protection Agency, COWIbiologist Frank Stuer-Lauridsen concludes thatEuropean shipbreakers can no longer compete withthe primitive shipbreakingbeaches in the EastPhoto: Scanpix


Like beachedwhales


“Today a ship is no longer acreaking three-master, but amodern transportation machine”By Jette KingodCOWI biologist Frank Stuer-Lauridsen is on thelookout for environmentally acceptable breakingup of large ships and is currently investigatingwhether any shipyards in the OECD countries cando the job. The preliminary results of an analysissubmitted to the Danish Environmental ProtectionAgency in December make for discouraging reading.A few shipyards in Spain, Italy and Mexicohave experience of breaking up big ships, but theyall say it does not pay them to do it—costs are toohigh and the price they get for scrap in OECDcountries is simply too low.Comments Frank Stuer-Lauridsen: “There isagreement that an alternative to the breaking upactivities carried out on the beaches of Turkey,India, Pakistan and Bangladesh needs to be found.But fi nding a solution to satisfy everyone is complex,particularly as it would place an obligation on,for instance, shipowners whose ships are registeredin fl agship states.”The breaking up of tankers and other big shipson Asian beaches has come under scrutiny followingdocumentation that the work goes on underappalling working conditions and with no attentionpaid to the environment. Denmark’s Minister forthe Environment Hans Chr. Schmidt became concernedon hearing that two Danish ships had beenbroken up under such conditions on a beach inTurkey. The ships lay there like beached whales,constituting a threat to both the environment andthe people working with them.Hazardous however you look at itDenmark is a signatory to the Basle Convention,which controls the international transport of dangerouswaste—not least from OECD countries tocountries outside the OECD. The basic tenet isthat the producer must dispose of products containingdangerous materials and chemicals. They arenot to be sent to another destination—transportationcan be hazardous and wealthy countries arenot allowed to export the problem to poor countrieswhere environmental legislation is more lax.Today a ship is no longer a creaking threemaster,but a modern transportation machinepacked with installations containing dangerousmaterials. When a ship is broken up, waste is producedwhich constitutes a potential danger to peopleand the environment. For instance, piping andboilers are insulated with asbestos, hydraulic oilLegal blind alleyMany projects have been initiated under the Basle Convention, and the legal groundwork iscurrently being formulated in collaboration with the UN’s International Maritime Organisation.Legally it is proving very complicated to fi nd the right laws and agree how to apply them. Whensailing, a ship is subject to maritime law, but if it has been decided to break up the ship it is classified as waste transport. Responsibility for law enforcement can also be a complex subject whenthe shipowner is from country 1, the ship is registered in country 2, the captain is from country 3,the ship is in dock in country 4 or sailing international waters between countries 5 and 6, and perhapsis to be broken up in country 7. No one is in any doubt that legislation is necessary.6


“It is diffi cult to introduce legislationin states where housing shipsis the only source of income,”says Frank Stuer-Lauridsen.Photo: Tao Lytzen7


may contain PCB, thermometers and valves holdmercury, and the paint on the hull contains tributyltine(TBT), all of which are hazardous to man andenvironment. Considered in the context of a ship’slife cycle, shipping is probably the most internationalform of transport in the world, with shipsbeing built, owned, registered, operated, generatingrevenue and fi nally being disposed of—all atinternational level.Technically possible…The Danish Environmental Protection Agency hastaken on the challenge of fi nding a sustainable solution,and COWI has identifi ed shipyards in OECDcountries where the breaking up of big ships canbe carried out. The shipyard capacity is ascertainedand checks madethat the work is donein an environmentally responsibleway and in anacceptable working environment.It was found tobe technically possible for ships to be broken up inOECD countries in an environmentally acceptableway.“Considered in the context of aship’s life cycle, shipping isprobably the most internationalform of transport in the world”…but financially impossible“But, sadly, being technically possible is notenough,” explains Frank Stuer-Lauridsen. “10-15years ago the OECD shipyards found they could nolonger compete with the beach break-up practicesgoing on in Asia. This, of course, is because theOECD countries have environmental and workenvironmental regulations in force that are actuallyadhered to, wages are higher, and the demand forrecyclable steel is lower than in other parts of theworld. Consequently, beach-based ship breaker’syards in India can offer shipowners more moneyfor an old ship than the EU or OECD. ”Environmentally acceptableVisits to the few remaining shipbreaking yards insouthern Europe showthat the environmentaland work environmentalconditions are acceptable.Breaking up ships ishard, dirty work. But at least the southernEuropean shipyards do it in an orderly manner.Draining of oil is done responsibly, no cables areburned so there are no dioxin emissions, employeesare suitably protected and some shipyardsare certifi ed. They also have the capacity and canmanage most big ships—one can accommodateships over 300 metres.A matter of urgencyFinding an alternative to the intolerable breakinguppractices on distant beaches is a matter of urgency.From 2016, single-hull ships will no longerbe allowed to sail and must be broken up. This willdouble the demand for facilities to break up shipsfrom 7 million tonnes to almost 14 million tonnesannually.@Biologist Frank Stuer-Lauridsen, fsl@cowi.dkAsian workers are paid pitifulwages. An investigativeDanish TV programme documentsworking conditions forAsian beach shipbreakers.Photo: DR Arkiv8


Chocolate milk heats factoryCocio heats its new Esbjergfactory with energy fromchocolate milk productionBy Christina TækkerCocio Chocolate Milk is heating its new Esbjerg factorywith energy from chocolate milk production. Duringbottling, the chocolate milk is heat-treated in largecontainers, or autoclaves—and the new factory’s superheatedwater plant not only cuts Cocio’s water bill,it also allows for utilisation of the surplus heat generated.After a year in production, Cocio has reducedits water and heat consumption costs by40 per cent or DKK 850,000 a year.Comments Cocio production managerJesper Toft Mathiasen: “I expected to realisesavings of about half what we have actuallyachieved. And at the same time thenew factory is able to produce fi ve timesmore chocolate milk.”Energy-saving solutionAs the steam generating method used toheat the autoclaves in the old factory didnot lend itself to heat recycling, Cocio decided tomodernise its work methods. A lot of hot water fromproduction was literally going straight down thedrain—while Cocio was paying for industrial watersupplies and the heating to heat it up. Once the newCOWI factory got the go-ahead, project manager NielsStausholm decided to implement an energy-savingsolution.At a temperature of 170°C, the superheated wateris used to heat up the industrial water in the autoclaves,which is then sprayed through nozzles ontothe bottles of chocolate milk. The water and thechocolate milk are then cooled to 40-50°C, whilethe surplus steam is fed into an outside tank witha capacity of 100,000 litres. From here, thefactory can tap into it to heat the productionfacilities and administrative offi ces, as wellas selected dairy processes such aspasteurisation, sterilisation and bottlecleaning.The project has received DKK 300,000in aid from the Danish Energy Agency.Project manager Niels Stausholm,@ nsj@cowi.dk9


Roads must ha


Photo: Stig Stasig.Strandvejen, north of Copenhagen, runs through theforest, beside the sea and past impressive buildings.It has rhythm—even in rainy weather, say architectMichael Varming and COWI road engineer KlausHoffmann-Petersen. Like your favourite classical music,a road must have rhythm. It makes the road anexperience for travellers and helps avoid accidentsve rhythm11


By Christina TækkerIt is not diffi cult to see why motorists sit out thequeues all the way up Strandvejen at weekends.Through forest and coppice, past pompous villas,sun worshippers on Bellevue Beach in the summer,bracing fresh sea air and Arne Jacobsen’s architecturalwonders make it all worthwhile. The roadThe rhythm of roadsThe rhythm of roads is nothing new. Motoristsmay not think in terms of the rhythm or aestheticsof roads, but a fl awed design cancause problems and even accidents. As earlyas 1936 the German psychologist WilhelmSiegloch carried out a number of surveys ofsingle-vehicle accidents on the German autobahns.He found that surprisingly many singlevehicleaccidents happened at night whenthere was relatively little traffi c. Often wherethere was a slight curve in the road or after along, straight stretch of road. In 1967 architectMichael Varming followed up these resultswhen he carried out a survey at the DanishBuilding Research Institute, where he interviewedmotorists on the Halsskov motorwayand studied police reports. He found out thatmost single-vehicle accidents occurred wherea long, straight stretch of road was followed bya relatively sharp swing. The motorists hit thecrash barrier “due to a momentary lapse inconcentration”, according to the reports. Notenough had been done to hold motorists’ concentrationand keep them awake.traverses this lovely terrain with a good rhythmthat holds the motorists’ attention for longstretches. A COWI road engineer and a leadingroad designer, each with his own distinctiveapproach to future road design, readily concur.Comments architect Michael Varming: “Thosewho were best at creating beautiful, coursingrhythm are the Viennese classicists—Mozart,Schubert, Haydn and Beethoven. Their symphoniesoften follow a pattern—a fast movementfollowed by a slow, then a minuet and fi nallyanother fast movement. I try to learn from the oldmasters and what they felt it took for people tofeel a sense of rhythm. If there is too much to takein, we become confused. Too little, and we fallasleep or become drowsy. The Viennese classicistsunderstood this well. In the same way,roads are all about holding motorists’ optimalattentiveness—not least from a traffi c safety pointof view.”Textbook inspirationThat is not the COWI way. Which is not to say thatthe road engineers don’t have rhythm. But as faras major road projects are concerned, COWIusually comes into the picture in the latter stages,after the corridor has beendetermined, sensitive areasidentifi ed and the line andlayout generally agreed.The client may notalways see the relevanceof incurring the additionalcost of an architect.“Those who were best atcreating beautiful, coursingrhythm are the Vienneseclassicists—Mozart,Schubert, Haydn andBeethoven”Engineers gain their inspiration from the technicaltextbooks and the guidelines issued by the RoadDirectorate on how to design nice roads. Here theylearn to create a harmonious interplay between thehorizontal and vertical alignment of the road and toavoid so-called tunnel vision which can occur whenyou drive very long, unbroken stretches of road.“Architects are far from superfl uous,” says COWIroad engineer Klaus Hoffmann-Petersen. “Giventheir education and qualifi cations, they take amore visual, aesthetic approach to placing a roadthrough a landscape. There are some excellent examplesof collaboration with architects that haveenhanced the rhythm of new stretches of road,such as the Western bridge over Denmark’s GreatBelt and the projected road link between Qatarand Bahrain, where we recommended that the40-km-long bridge and dam structure shouldincorporate long, gentle curves.”Roads from before ChristIn the opinion of Michael Varming, creating theideal rhythmic road requires input from an architect,an engineer and a project manager. MichaelVarming, who is currently working on the design ofthree alternative motorway corridors for the linkto Sønderborg, Denmark, can sometimes be seenwith the project manager and road engineer crisscrossingthe motorway site in thick rubber bootsand carrying a Cameralucida, an old instrumentfrom 1820 which he uses to draw the landscapecontours on a plate showing a CAD perspective ofthe road viewed from the point where he isstanding. The instrumenthelps him plan how the roadwill skirt plantations, villagechurches and other landmarks.Michael Varming believesit is important to get the roaddesign right from the start:“Nothing has such a long lifetime as a road. The ViaAppia dates from before Christ was born—and itis still in use today.”@Engineer Klaus Hoffmann-Pedersen, khp@cowi.dk@ArchitectMichael Varming, mvarming@mail.dkRead more at www.cowi.dk - News12“Nothing has such a long lifetimeas a road. The Via Appia datesfrom before Christ was born—andit is still in use today”


Photo: H.H. MikkelsenAward for glass buildingA small auxiliary heating plant can be beautiful.Aalborg municipality has awarded a prizefor excellence in design to Aalborg DistrictHeating Supply System’s new auxiliaryplant—a 10-metre high building housing thetechnical installations.Nursing home with community spiritIn 2004 the first occupants will move into a50-unit nursing home on Sealand. Designed toavoid any suggestion of institutionalisation, itwill allow residents—average age 83 years—adegree of independence while still enablingthem to share a sense of community spirit. TheSulphuric acid for a fresher smell…Now it is documented: sulphuricacid is effective againstodours from stored wastewater.And complaints fromneighbours are down—atleast in the area aroundKarup potato starch factory,which took part in a pilotproject with COWI.Many potato starch factoriesspray their fields withwastewater from their productionprocesses. The rulesin Denmark regarding use ofwaste products as fertiliserhave been tightened in thelast decade, and from Octoberto February it is banned outright.So during this periodfactories store their wastewaterin lagoons—with accompanyingserious odourproblems.COWI Consulting was instrumental in the birthof the project. Explains head of departmentMogens Bo Knudsen: “The auxiliary plant isencapsulated in sandblasted glass elements,giving a very attractive finish that matches theneighbouring buildings.”Explaining the award, the committee saidthe building’s simple design adds quality to anarea considered unattractive due to a majorroad system and incongruous constructions.Architects: Friis & Moltke A/S, landscapearchitect: Willy Rossell.Head of department Mogens Bo Knudsen,@ mbk@cowi.dkfeeling of security this engenders will bebalsam for body and soul alike.COWI is collaborating with NCC and the firmof architects Friis & Moltke A/S on the project.Project manager Claus Nyvang Kristensen,@ cnk@cowi.dkAdding sulphuric acid to rather haphazardly,” recountswastewater reduces its pHvalue—and hence limits a lotof bacterial activity. PreviousCOWI studies have shownthat, from an environmentaland energy point of view,chemical stabilisation withsenior specialist ThomasDueholm of COWI. “Thisproject enabled us to takeprecise measurements todocument the impressivelybeneficial effect of chemicalstabilisation of wastewater.”sulphuric acid is an attractiveSenior specialist Thomassolution compared to other @ Dueholm, tdu@cowi.dkoptions. Last year the DanishEnergy Agency took the initiativeto finance a project atKarup potato starch factoryin order to demonstrateand document theuse of sulphuricacid to counterodours.“The factoriesthemselves had triedthis some years ago,but they went about itWe are not nerdsThere is a looming fear itturns you into a numbersand-spreadsheetsnerd. Lesseningthe appeal of technicalstudies for many youngsters.But the reality is far fromthe stereotype. IDA, theSociety of Danish Engineers,is now offering coursesacross Denmark that includevisits to schools by real-lifeengineers from leading engineeringcompanies.“The courses help give theengineering profession downto-earthappeal,” enthusesconstruction engineer SørenAndersen, who teaches “COWI—we build houses” in Esbjerg.Arranged by COWI, thecourse students design ahouse taking into account financing,legislation, constructionand architectural style.The course includes a visit toa COWI construction site andculminates in an assessmentof the students’ projects.Engineer Søren Andersen,@ snd@cowi.dk13


Mapping14the UK anew


Pilot Jacob Greve and navigator AllanTheill manage the photography assignmentin the company’s own aircraft,working at altitudes of up to4,000 metres. In addition to thecamera, the aircraft is equipped withcomputers, GPS receivers and controlunits. Photo: Morten LarsenKampsax navigator Allan Theill usestouch-screen technology to selectfl ight routes and monitor the photographyassignment. A computermessages the camera in the foregroundwhen to take the picture. Thecamera is mounted on a gyro stabilisationframe in the bottom of the aircraft,and in front of it are the controlunits that compensate for speed andside wind. Photo: Morten LarsenSmall Cessna aircraft equipped with sophisticatedphotography equipment are to remap much of theUK. The assignment is one of the biggest to datefor Kampsax Geographical Information, the leaderin digital mapping15


Mapping made easyDDO Town: Denmark’s Digital Orthophoto for urban areasis simple, comprehensible and user-friendly. DDO Town issupplied with a pixel size of 10 cm, enabling a hithertounseen wealth of detail.16By Christina TækkerOver the next five years,Kampsax is to map much of theUK from a height of 1,500metres using sophisticatedphotography equipment fi ttedinto small Cessna aircraft.The project came about asthe result of a strategically importantpartnership establishedin autumn between Britain’sOrdnance Survey (OS) andCOWI’s subsidiary UK company.The order, valued at aboutDKK 250 million, is the most importantsingle assignment in the40-year history of KampsaxGeographical Information—ahistory that includes mappingand registering cocaine fi elds inBolivia, and mapping extensiveareas of El Salvador and Ireland.“Over the years, mappingneeds have changed tremendously,”says Lars Flemming,cartographer with Kampsax.“From registering tracts of land,green areas and bus-stop locationsto contingency planning forEU summit meetings and viewingyour house from above atthe estate agent’s offi ce.”Kampsax leads the fieldWith its own aircraft, cameraequipment and full productioncapacity, Kampsax has extensiveexperience in aerial photographytechnology and digital indexmaps. Today the company ismarket leader in digital mapping,photographing the lengthand breadth of Denmark andelsewhere to update its digitalmapping products such asKampsax DanmarksKort (KDK =Kampsax Map of Denmark)and Denmark’s Digital Orthophoto(DDO).National map products canbe used as decision-making toolsin municipal town planning or asbackground maps in GeographicalInformation Systems (GIS). In theprivate sector, the maps are usedKey words and phrasesDigital orthophotos—scaled aerial photos.Can be used in a great many contexts, whereverthere is a need for visual depictions indetailed realism.DDO—Denmark’s Digital Orthophotos.Established by overfl ying and photographingDenmark with two sophisticated Zeiss camerasfrom a height of 4,000 metres. The imagesare scanned and transformed into a digitalimage mosaic.DDH—Denmark’s Digital Terrain Model.Together with DDO, DDH represents a uniqueform of data collation. In the summer of 2002,Kampsax completed the most recent digitalmapping update of Denmark.


KDK is a standard, national cartographic product whichis used as a general orientation map or as backgroundwhen presenting other data. KDK can also be integratedinto a company Web site.The Digital Terrain Model (DDH) is a nationwide modelwhich gives a 3-dimensional depiction of the contours ofthe landscape—hills and valleys—and shows naturaland man-made changes.to locate companies, touristattractions, camping groundsand a host of other things.A liking for mappingAs early as the 1960s Danishmunicipalities developed a likingfor geographical mapping,which, at that time, was in analogueformat. This liking formapping was fed not least bythe massive push to parcel outland for single-family housing.The beginning of the 1980smarked the advent of the digitalage. With the coming of naturalgas, there was an explosivegrowth in demand for technicalmaps. This made it profi table for For this reason, orthophotosmapping companies to invest (scaled aerial photos) and mapin digital mapping technology production based on them occupy—which in turn enabled registrationa central position in our so-of water pipes, sewage ciety. Maps are the backbone ofsystems, telephone cables, any GIS system, and combinedelectricity etc.with relevant data they can“Maps have always been serve as a basis for decisionvital in planning and registration,”making and as an informationexplains Lars Flemming. tool.“Compared to early manualCartographer Lars Flemming,records, geographical mapping—digitalaerial photos—is@ lrfl@cowi.dkwww.kampsax.dkprecise and extremely detailed.Aerial photos contain volumes of www.kortal.dkinformation and, at the sametime, are very simple to understand.”17


From civil warto civil engineeringCivil engineer Ahmed Bileworks closely with engineerThomas Rudbeck and technicaldesigner Lis Sølbeck ona project in Vejle .Photo: Niels Åge SkovboAhmed Bile fl ed the civil war in Somalia. Today he worksas an engineer in Kolding, Denmark. It is important toprovide opportunities for immigrants to the country.We have a lot to give, he says18


By Christina TækkerCivil engineer Ahmed Bile glancesat the architectural drawings ofthe building project to houseluxury fl ats and clinics in Vejle,then briefs engineer ThomasRudbeck and technical designerLis Sølbeck.Finally he has landed hisdream job. But the road to successhas been long and arduous.He fl ed the civil war inSomalia, graduated as a civilengineer in India and since 1994has worked hard to build a newlife for himself and his family inDenmark.But despite having goodqualifi cations, his job applicationsalways resulted in rejections.Employment as an engineerand the closer contact toDanish society it would bringwas eluding him. To improve hisprospects, Ahmed Bile studiedto be an IT administrator andbuilding technician—and becamefamiliar with Danish constructionstandards and environmentalregulations in theprocess. A job training coursearranged by the local job centrebrought him to COWI’s Koldingoffi ce—and culminated in ajob offer as a civil engineer.Since September 2002 he hasworked for COWI, specialising inplumbing and heating installations,dimensioning and design.“My dreams have come true,”smiles 33-year-old Ahmed Bile,now happily settled in Koldingwith his wife and four children.“For integration to succeed, itis important to give immigrantsto Denmark opportunities withDanish companies. Having a jobgives you self-esteem and status;you feel that you are contributingto the national good.We immigrants don’t just wantto take—we also want to give,through work. The media tendsto distort the true picture.”My heart will always be SomalianAhmed Bile was born the eldestof ten children in the capital ofSomalia. His father, a formermayor and politician in theSomalianMinistry ofAgriculture,often tookhis familyalong on histravels to“There are three barriersto integrationinto Danish society—ignorance, intoleranceand language”Europe andAsia. But the civil war in Somaliaforced the family to fl ee viaKenya to Cairo, where theyowned a house. So it was thatAhmed Bile, with a university degreefrom Mangalore in southernIndia, could no longer returnhome where he had hoped toput his qualifi cations to gooduse.But he did make one fi nalvisit—to be reunited with hiswife-to-be who was waiting forhim. Following a period as a refugeein Kenya, where heworked for a time in constructionand fi shing, his wife appliedfor political asylum in Denmark.A year later, when Ahmed Bilesuccessfully applied to be reunitedwith his family, theyfound themselves togetheragain in Kolding.Work at COWI has broughtAhmed Bile close to the Danishlifestyle and mentality. For anengineer to work independentlyand meet deadlines were newdisciplines for Ahmed Bile, whowas used to engineers andarchitects working closely togetherin bigger groups.With his professional backgroundand culture, he hopes tocontribute toCOWI’s understandingofhow best toapproach engineeringinKenya andIndia.Eventually he would like to bestationed or work on projects inthird world countries.“I have adapted to Danish society—notonly in the workplace,but also in society. Likeother Danish men, I do the laundry,cooking and shopping. But Ican never forget my own culture.In my heart I will always beSomalian,” says Bile, who seeshis role as that of a kind ofambassador for Somalia inDenmark and Denmark’s representativein Somalia.Helping to resolve conflictsAhmed Bile plays an active rolein the local Somalian community,the Committee forIntegration and a national radioprogramme for Somalians, andunderstands the problemsand barriers confronting the13,000-14,000 Somalians inDenmark. He encourages newimmigrants to enrol in schoolcourses as a way to meetDanes. Now a well-integratedimmigrant, he has the strengthwithin himself to allow othersthe benefi t of his experience,help resolve potential confl ictsand assist Somalians integrateinto Danish society.“There are three barriers to integrationinto Danish society—ignorance, intolerance and language,”continues Ahmed Bile.“The labour market requires thatyou speak perfect Danish in orderto get a job. But I do not acceptthat an accent need be ahindrance.“Many immigrants live off welfare.But it is not necessarily thelifestyle of choice. A lot of immigrantsare well educated andqualified, and more effortshould be made to help them upgradetheir qualifi cations tomeet the needs of the Danishjob market. Just look aroundyou—many companies lackqualifi ed staff.”Civil engineer Ahmed Bile,@ rab@cowi.dk19


Illustration: Artpol MediaPhoto: Stig StasigBuilding withthe senses incyberspace


The building is already fi nished. Although it exists onlyin digital form. Wearing 3D glasses, the planners enter avirtual environment where they can sit down and checklighting, acoustics and colours


By Christina TækkerThe new SAS building in Helsinki is taking shape -a joint effort between an architect in Finland, anentrepreneur in France and an engineer inDenmark. Crossing borders and cultural barriers,the project team is managing every phase of construction,including indoor acoustics, lighting andheating, site set-up and the actual construction.But even though the building is apparently completed,you will not fi nd it in the streets of Helsinki.It sounds like a riddle. But the answer is simple.The SAS building only exists in digital form in a multidimensionalworld. The project, known asDivercity, is a tool to help builders, architects, engineersand entrepreneurs visualise and coordinateall phases of the construction process.“Divercity gives you a real feeling for the plannedbuilding—before construction even begins.Everyone works synchronously on comprehensivesolutions based on optimal dimensioning of lighting,acoustics and heating—thus eliminating error,”explains project manager Jens Ove Skjærbæk,COWI, Aalborg.Sound simulationJens Ove Skjærbæk feels that a major advantageof the principles behind Divercity is that you workwith one common model in which every detail is interconnected—andwhere you can foresee potentialpoints of confl ict and resolve them in a jointwork effort.A click on the mouse is all it takes to alter wallconstructions or check how much noise that quietroom near the kitchen will pick up—simply by listeningto the computer’s three-dimensional soundsimulator. The team works with light projections inmuch the same way. By entering a room wearing3D glasses, team members fi nd themselves in avirtual environment where they can sit on offi cechairs and determine if the light is too harsh or toosoft, or the refl ection from the walls is too much.Three years with DivercityDivercity is a three-year research and developmentproject involving ten companies fromDenmark, France, Finland, the UK and Italy.The project was completed in October 2002.Three trial runs were held and it is hoped thatDivercity can be further developed under thesixth framework programme of the EU.COWI, as sub-supplier to AalborgUniversity, has collaborated closely to drawup detailed program specifi cations, takingnote of the industry’s requirements regardingfuture work and ensuring that the programmeets these requirements.Timetable functionality gives the project team anoverview of the different construction phases—and the communication functionality means theteam can work together regardless of where in theworld each person is. This offers numerous advantages:the team can work with specialists fromaround the world, the builders can follow theproject’s progress and solutions, and architectsand engineers can work together simultaneouslyon the same solution, thereby avoiding having tosend piles of blueprints back and forth. Andthe entrepreneur can plan the construction concurrentlywith the design phase—giving him a betteridea of how to optimise the site layout.Breaking down cultural differences“Divercity is the result of a need for new ways ofworking together to meet the demands of internationalisation,greater effi ciency and competition.If we are to introduce new methods of collaborationand organisation such as partnering, we needtools that enable all participants to work togetherwithout necessarily meeting,” explains Jens OveSkjærbæk.Trials from three test projects show that themodel meets expectations. But as yet there is stillinsuffi cient bandwidth to digitally transmit virtualmodels of buildings. Jens Ove Skjærbæk expectsthe program to be on the shelves in three to fouryears:“I believe that the collaboration methods availablewith Divercity can help break down cultural22


“Where languagecan give rise to misunderstandings,imagesare universal”barriers with the help of virtual images. Where languagecan give rise to misunderstandings, imagesare universal. For example, it will be much easierto convey your construction ideas by means ofimages. Not least for the customer, who of courseis always in the centre.”@Project manager Jens Ove Skjærbæk, jeo@cowi.dkwww.e-divercity.com23Photo: Stig Stasig


Plumber in a virtual worldSpecial glasses with built-in prisms and a pocket-size GPS sender. An EUproject is under way to make such work methods the norm for the Europeanconstruction industryThe way to the futureBy Christina TækkerWhen a plumber enters a building to install apump, he must fi nd his way around. But help is athand. His special glasses have a built-in prismwhich functions like a minidata screen on which hecan see a virtual model ofhow the fi nished buildingwill look.In his pocket he carriesa GPS sender which, withthe help of the modelimage on his glasses,guides him to the cellar and the exact locationwhere the pump is to be installed. A video fi lmguides him through the whole installation process.It sounds like something visionary. Yet much ofthe technology required is already available. Onlythe fi nal push towards full utilisation is lacking. Butthat may soon change as the result of an EUproject focusing on the European aircraft, autoand construction industries.These industries, among the biggest in Europe,have in recent years experienced increasing demandsfor greater effi ciency. To meet these demands,the sector will need to embrace new methodsof collaboration, standards of data exchangeand technological opportunities. In other words, itmust be capable of juggling visualisations, simulationsand virtual realitywith as much familiarityas architectural drawingsand rough designs.Representatives fromthe three industries arenow working together toidentify the human barriersand technological challenges,and determine how they can motivate staffto become involved in these futuristic forms of collaborationin the coming decade.The human barrier“The human barrier would appear to be the biggestobstacle. The challenge is to examine how we caninvolve corporations and industrial organisations infuture collaborative constellations and agree commonstandards of data construction and exchange,”comments Jens Ove Skjærbæk, COWIproject manager and project representative of theEuropean construction industry.Future Workspaces aims to bring together key players from the European aircraft, auto and constructionindustries to determine the individual and joint needs of these sectors.The survey builds on interviews with key persons who, in a series of wide-ranging scenarios,discussed their particular industry’s future expectations, the forms of collaboration and tools inuse and the problems that can arise.This so-called Roadmap Project forms part of the Information Society TechnologiesProgramme (IST), which is pointing the way to the future. Eight companies and research institutionsfrom fi ve EU countries are taking part, including FIAT, Airbus, British Telecom and universitiesin England and Germany.The project, entitled Future Workspaces, will helpthe EU Commission initiate development projectsunder the sixth framework programme. Due forcompletion in spring 2003, the project is one ofseveral in support of European Community development.Greater demandsJens Ove Skjærbæk believes those in the industrymust learn to utilise each other’s individual resourcesbetter. For example, a joint collaborativeplatform would facilitate the exchange of architecturaldrawings and other documentation. Theindustry would also be able to work with a jointconstruction model complete with comprehensiveinformation about materials, prices, service life,manuals, timetables etc. Organisational forms ofcollaboration in the construction industry, such aspartnering, will become increasingly important inrealising the vision of greater effi ciency and fulfi l-ment of users’ needs and wants.@Projectmanager Jens Ove Skjærbæk, jeo@cowi.dkwww.avprc.ac.uk/fws/24


Cleaning requireseffective ventilation.Photo: Scanpix/NordfotoCitrus fragrancegives bad indoorclimateWashing and cleaning materialscan cause unpleasant reactions—whether you work with thesematerials or simply on premiseswhere they are usedBy Christina TækkerReally clean means the smell offresh citrus or pine needles. Atleast, that appears to be theprevailing opinion. But many ofthose nicely scented washingand cleaning materials containethereal oil or essence which,even in small concentrations,can cause allergic reactions orirritation to the skin, eyes andrespiratory tract—whether youwork with these materials orsimply on premises where theyare used. For years attentionhas been focused on the impactof these materials on the en-vironment, but today the focusis shifting to include the impacton the indoor climate too.Given the brief lifespan ofsuch materials, to date it has beendiffi cult to prove they arepresent and a potential healthproblem.But surveys carried out byU.S. professor Charles Weschlerand others are shedding newlight. Weschler’s latest researcheffort at the Technical Universityof Denmark was completedwith support from the COWIfoundation.“Research suggests that substancesformed by a reactionbetween the ozone and, say,limonene, which is found inlemon oil, can cause short-termallergic reactions or irritation,” explainCOWI consultants SonjaHagen Mikkelsen and AnneAbildgaard. “The surveys alsoshow that such substances formmore easily in indoor environmentswith poor ventilation.Therefore cleaning requireseffective ventilation or airing.”Fragrances unnecessaryCOWI has extensive consultancyexperience with washing andcleaning materials and theirhealth impact. And with the increasingfocus on our indoor climate,the company expectsgrowing pressure to fi nd solutionsto indoor climate problems -especially in large rooms, whichcan be diffi cult to air properly.“You tend to think that fragrancesin washing and cleaning materialsare natural and effective,”explains Sonja Hagen Mikkelsen.“But this is not necessarily thecase. Even some fragranceswhich occur naturally can causehealth problems—and they veryrarely serve any practical functionin cleaning products.”For those wishing to avoidfragrances in washing and cleaningmaterials, not even ecolabelledproducts offer adequateassurances. They can also be allergenic,as eco-labelling placesno demands on the fragrancecontent. Therefore information isessential.Concludes Anne Abildgaard:“You can do a perfectly goodcleaning job without it having tosmell of lemons afterwards.”Consultant Anne Abildgaard,@ aab@cowi.dk25


“Biomass is widely used in heat production,as the price is only one-third ofthe usual alternatives: oil and gas (includingtaxes). For biomass to be usedin electricity production it must be ableto compete with cheap, imported, pollutingcoal which is not subject to taxation,or for that matter French nuclearpower in a liberalised market. It’s totallyunrealistic,” says Jens Dall Bentzen,MSc Eng, COWI.Photo: Tao LytzenA bucket of wood chip26


The gasifi cation plant at DTU resemblessomething Disney character GyroGearloose might have invented. But itworks. COWI consultant Jens Dall Bentzen(right) and DTU lecturer Ulrik Henriksen(left) are having diffi culty fi nding an industrialpartner willing to put the plant intoproduction. Photo: Tao LytzenTwo kilos of wood chips an hour isenough to supply a house with heatand electricity for the whole winter.The technology already exists.But industry is hesitant to invest inenvironmentally friendly energys suffices27


“There is so much biofuel in the world,and so many people who want electricity”28By Christina TækkerThe gasification plant at theTechnical University of Denmark(DTU) resembles somethingDisney character Gyro Gearloosemight have invented. The plantconsumes 20 kilos of wood chipsan hour, which are fed into reactorswhere they are dried andgasifi ed. The gas is then burnedoff in a gas motor to produceelectricity and heat. With such aplant, it would take only twokilos of chips an hour to supplya single-family house withdistrict heat and electricity inwinter—with no pollution andno CO 2 gas emissions.“I believe it can be big,” saysJens Dall Bentzen, COWI. “Thereis so much bio-fuel in the world,and so many people who wantelectricity. But gasification ofbiomass needs a technologicalbreakthrough. With this processwe can achieve it.”The method he refers to is atwo-stage process whereby gasification of biomass convertsstraw, wood chips or other types ofbiomass into a combustible gaswhich is then burned off in gasmotors, gas turbines or fuelcells.Lack of political backingUlrik Henriksen, lecturer at theTechnical University of Denmark(DTU), is the man behind thetwo-stage process. He explainsthat this process differs fromothers in that it produces gaswith low tar content yet high onthermal effi ciency. But despitethe obvious advantages, DTUand COWI have been unable tofi nd an industrial partner willingto complete development of theplant and put it into production.Because, while the process hasbeen proven to produce powersuffi cient for a handful of onefamilyhomes, for a company toconsider it worthwhile the planthas to be able to run unmannedand problem-free.“Danish companies haveacquired unique know-how ofbioenergy, giving them a leadingposition in a fi eld which theEU prioritises very highly. Thelimited development seen todate is largely due to the lack ofpolitical support: the prevailingopinion is that biomass must notreplace natural gas, which iswidespread in Denmark. Also,writing off bioenergy electricitycosts is presently a legislativelymurky area. Consequently companiesconsider it too risky to investin the development andcommercialisation of this type oftechnology,” explains Jens DallBentzen, who has been developingand improving the twostageprocess at DTU since1995.We can afford itJens Dall Bentzen admits that itis costlier to produce alternativeenergy than traditional. But thisis not necessarily an obstacle.The most signifi cant item on theelectricity bill is energy taxes,and if the taxes on sustainableenergy were reduced it wouldbecome competitive. In socioeconomicterms this is a viableprospect, as the increased useof biomass to produce heat andpower would provide employmentand export of Danish biomasstechnology. Not to mention theenvironmental benefits andsupply assurances of biomass—Fuel25 ˚CDistrictheatingEngineExhaust gas250 ˚CDrying and pyrolysisAir40 ˚CProduct gascooling & cleaningCondensate Particles D.Hfurther arguments in favour ofexploiting its potential.“All things considered, wecould easily afford to produceenergy at slightly higher productioncosts than at present—particularly when taking employment,export and environmentalconsiderations into account,”says Jens Dall Bentzen.Letters to politiciansAn interest in exploiting biomasstook him travelling for two yearsto study Danish wind turbines inCalifornia and to see how thepeople of New Zealand get almostall their electricity fromlarge hydroelectric installations.On returning home he studiedsustainable energy and energyconservation at DTU, whichmarked the start of his career ingasifi cation of biomass.Jens Dall Bentzen is so passionateabout his cause that hespends his own time bringing alternativeenergy to the notice of550 ˚CAirpreheating500 ˚CGasification800 ˚Cpoliticians and the media. As aboard member of the DanishBiomass Association, in the autumnhe wrote a letter to theParliamentary Energy Committeeproposing that the governmentallow environmentally benefi cialbioenergy in areas with naturalgas, and that a price be set forelectricity produced using bioenergy-basedheat and power.“Discussions are going on inthe Parliament this winter, sohopefully my letter can guide thepoliticians in the right direction.”Jens Dall Bentzen, MSc Eng,@ jdb@cowi.dkwww.bgg.mek.dtu.dkFor further readingwww.cowi.dk - NewsBottomashThe gasifi cation plant is atwo-stage gasifi er inwhich the pyrolysis andgasifi cation processes areseparated. With thismethod, the tar content ofthe gas is very low andcontrolling and regulatingthe process is easier. Theplant is more environmentallyfriendly androbust, and offers greaterenergy effi ciency thanother gasifi cation plants.Partial oxidation1000 ˚C


Consultant and researcherJens Dall Bentzen with hisfour children, from left:Mathias, Nanna, Bastian andKaroline. Photo: Tao LytzenConsultant, researcherand father of fourJens Dall Bentzen is an engineer, consultant,researcher and father of four. These very different rolesform a synthesis when he combines research at theTechnical University of Denmark with consultancy at COWI29


By Christina Tækker34-year-old engineer Jens DallBentzen is a busy man. Aswell as being an ardent advocateof Danish energy policy, forfour years he has worked as aresearcher and consultant. Twodays a week he drives to theInstitute of Mechanics, Energy& Construction at the TechnicalUniversity of Denmark (DTU) inLyngby. The rest of the week heworks in the Energy Departmentat COWI’s head offi ce in thesame town. And at home he hasfour children aged from oneto seven years—a combinationwhich, he smiles, succeeds verywell in a home without TV.BiomassThe term used to describeorganic material, biogas, domesticwaste, wood chipsand straw.His double job marks the continuationof many years’ collaborationbetween DTU andCOWI on the gasifi cation of biomass.As the fi rst stage in atwo-stage gasifi cation processwhich Jens Dall Bentzen is currentlyinvolved in, DTU andCOWI together have developed apyrolysis unit.Explains Jens Dall Bentzen:“I joined COWI in order to workon real projects while continuingto research and develop thegasifi cation technology. My missionwas to fi nd an industrialpartner willing to complete developmentof the gasifi cationtechnology and put it into production.”In shorts and sandalsWorking at DTU keeps Jens DallBentzen abreast of research developments—especiallyin thegasifi cation of biomass, a fi eld inwhich DTU is a leading researcher.Since 1995 he hasworked on developing andimproving the two-stage gasifi cationprocess. He assists in trialsan open offi ce layout and long,glass-enclosed walkways, whilethe ambience at DTU is muchmore informal, with iron latticesstanding aslant and model solarand data collation, and takes panels spread around thepart in research activities suchas analysis of ash and examinationof materials. His extensiveknowledge of two-stage gasification is of great benefi t toCOWI.He has also worked on improvementsto the waste incinerationplants, and worked inRumania and Lithuania with biomassand energy. At present heis renovating boilers in Estoniaand converting the Høng DistrictHeating Plant in Denmark fromstraw to wood chip fuel.Jens Dall Bentzen comfortablycombines research andgrounds. The grass grows high,and in the old site-huts originallyintended as temporary offi ces,researchers sit and think greatthoughts for the future of biomassand alternative energy.“The big difference is that atDTU I can come to work inshorts and sandals,” smilesJens Dall Bentzen, “and no oneminds if I get dirty lending ahand in the workshop. It’s notlike that at COWI. Here you havea completely different mentality,and I have to be dressed readyto represent COWI at every opportunity.”consultancy, although he fi ndsJens Dall Bentzen, MSc Eng,himself working in two very dif-ferent environments. COWI jdb@cowi.dkhas30Having two places of workand four children is acombination which succeedsvery well in a homewithout TV, says Jens DallBentzen, COWI.Photo: Tao Lytzen


Follow productsfrom cradle to graveA new Danish LCA Centreaims to spread the use ofLCA and the life-cycle mentalityamong Danish companies.The centre addressesthe need amongDanish business for helpwith more product-orientedenvironmental work, backedby relevant know-how andspecific tools.dk-Teknik, the Institutefor Product Development atthe Technical University andCOWI will jointly run the centre.Engineer Erik Hansen,COWI, also on the centremanagement team, sayslife-cycle assessment iswinning greater acceptanceas the only tool that is holisticand covers all aspects ofthe environment.The centre, located atdk-Teknik in Gladsaxe, nearCopenhagen, offers impartialadvice. Funding of DKK 9 mspread over four years hasbeen agreed.Life-cycle assessmentsfollow products from thecradle to the grave in orderto fully document theirimpact on the environment.Engineer Erik Hansen,@ ehn@cowi.dkModel photo: KHRASNew centre for stars on tourDavid Bowie, Bob Dylan andTom Jones have already beenthere. And others are sure tofollow in the future. So theDanish town of Horsens isbuilding a new, top classcultural and sports centre.Forum Horsens, which opensin the summer of 2004, willbe a striking building housinga swimming pool and anA house with solar panels or a small wind turbine.The rural population of Namibia will soonhave easier access to electricity. COWI is providingtechnical assistance for a Danida financedproject to develop unearthed energysystems to enable the local population, manyof whom live in desert conditions, to produceenergy independently of external supplies.“The project focuses on the use of rudimentarysun and wind based technologies.for optimal enjoyment ofboth sport and music,” explainssenior project managerLars Rosholm, COWI.“We have achieved thiswith the arched roof designcombined with innovative solutionsfor the acoustic materialson the walls and ceiling.”COWI, which provides consultancyservices in all engineeringdisciplines, solvedthe challenge in collaborationwith KHR architects andKnudsen & Halling.events hall big enough for And yes, the first concertmajor sports meetings and is already arranged. Whenconcerts. The hall, which has the doors of this sporting anda capacity of 4,500 spectators cultural gem open for the firstfor concerts (4,100 seated) time in September, popularand 3,000 for sporting events, Danish group “Sons of thewill boast facilities on a par Desert” will be the starwith The Danish Royal billing.Theatre.Senior project manager Lars“One big challenge was to @ Rosholm, lrj@cowi.dkachieve the right acousticsSolar panels and wind turbines for NamibiaThe energy systems must be sustainable andeasy to maintain,” says Réne Maillet fromCOWI, responsible for the technological side.COWI is collaborating with the Global TrainingResearch Centre (GTRC), an institutionspecialised in environmental conditions indeserts.@Projectmanager Réne Maillet, rpm@cowi.dk31


Combining the latest technology,Scandinavian functionalityand a design thatallows daylight to stream into a depth of 20 metres,there is no doubt thatCopenhagen now has theworld’s most modern metroPhoto: Polfoto


More metroin MayPhoto: Scanpix Nordfoto/Bardur EklundThe fi rst stage of Copenhagen’s new metro is open.In May the next stretch from Nørreport toFrederiksberg opens, followed at the end of 2003by the branch to Vanløse. Later the line will beextended to Copenhagen airport. And constructionmay not end there. A metro link under the oldquarter of Copenhagen—the City Ring stage—iscurrently under consideration. Projected date ofcompletion is 2012


By Jette Kingod and Christina TækkerWhen the fi rst fare-paying passengers descendedthe stairs to Nørreport metro station on 21October, COWI project director Anders Odgård felthis heart aglow.Seemingly no one stopped to consider howmuch work had gone into the eight-year-long project—boringsunder Copenhagen, building tunnels,bridges and stations, laying tracks, developingan entirely new type of train with advancedelectronic operating systems, establishing anoperational organisation from scratch andtraining employees to serve the world’s mostsophisticated metro. The passengers simplyboarded the train as if it had always been there.And that was the greatest tribute.Metro construction is continuing - with no timeto rest on one’s laurels. Following the 11 km fi rststage, the fi rst part of stage two—from Nørreportto Frederiksberg—is due to open in May, followedby the Frederiksberg-Vanløse line in December.The third stage, from Lergravsparken toCopenhagen airport, is projected to open in 2007.Tenders are currently being submitted for thisstage. And fi nally, the metro’s fourth stage—theCity Ring—is at the planning stage. If approved byParliament, this 14 km stretch will cover parts ofthe City, Østerbro, Nørrebro, Frederiksberg andVesterbro where there is no train service at present.“The next stage to Vanløse presents us withnew challenges,” says Anders Odgård. “Constructionwork has been completed—now we areready for integration, testing and commencement ofoperations. Work on the following stages will continueconcurrently with stage one running smoothlyand on time—something we have not tried before.”Tighter control of contractsSince 1994 COWI has been the main consultant ofØrestad Development Corporation, which managesthe overall construction and project management aswell as tenders for the third stage of the project.Anders Odgård and Torben Johansen, technicaldirector of the Ørestad Development Corporation, haveworked together for a long time guiding all the involvedparties, consultants and contractors throughthe complexity of contracts—a process which hasCity RingThe City Ring currently under considerationwould considerably expand the metro networkby linking the suburbs of Nørrebro,Østerbro, Vesterbro and inner Frederiksberg.Ørestad company has been asked to assessthe perspectives involved in establishingand operating a City Ring, which wouldgive road-users in central Copenhagen anattractive alternative means of transportand ease the pressure of traffi c in thestreets. The assessment, to be completedin late 2003, would cover constructioncosts, traffi c prognoses, operating costsand socio-economic benefi ts. A decisionwill then be taken on whether to go aheadwith preparatory work.The Ministry of Transport, Copenhagenand Frederiksberg municipalities and HUR,the Greater Copenhagen Authority, willcarry out the preliminary study with technicalassistance from Ørestad DevelopmentCorporation.The City RingFoto: Scanpix Nordfoto/Jens Nørgaard Larsen34Source: Ørestad Development Corporation


Copenhagen’s metro isproving popular. InNovember over one millionpassengers rode on thedriverless trains.Photo: Scanpix Nordfoto/Jens Nørgaard Larsen35


36Late last year Copenhagenhosted a gathering of the world’sleading metro builders whenCOWI and the other partners inthe metro project arranged atwo-day seminar. Discussionsranged from the stringent environmentalrequirements to experiencewith driverless trainsand architectural visions.Photo: Polfoto


Technical director TorbenJohansen, ØrestadDevelopment Corporation,and project directorAnders Odgård, COWI,agree that the constructionand operation of amodern metro is a highlycomplex project.Photo: Stig Stasignot been entirely free of problems. The completionof stage one was delayed by two years.“The diffi culty with a large, complex projectlike this is to see the contracts through to completionwhere the contractors can see early on thatthey are going to end up with a loss,” explainsTorben Johansen. “The problem with major contractslike this is that normal contract mechanismsdo not work. We need to fi nd alternative methodsin the future. Normally contractors incur penaltiesor are fi red if they do not honour their contractualobligations, but in a project like this it does nothave the same effect. Another problem is thatthe larger consortiums do not have a corporatereputation to consider. If something goes wrong,you can simply blame the other parties in theconsortium. But the stringent requirementsattached to the tendering process do not allow usto exclude contractors from bidding—even thosewith whom we have previously had trouble.”Adds Anders Odgård: “The diffi culties we have encounteredin managing the fi rst-stage contractshave led us to adopt a different strategy for thesubsequent stages. Instead of relying on a coupleof major contractors, as we did for the fi rst stage,we have divided the work—and the contracts—intosmaller, more manageable packages.We also need tighter time schedule discipline.From the fi rst stage, we have learned that thereare lots of small things that can be dealt with muchearlier in the process. Since construction commencedin 1994 we have adopted a traditional approachto managing this project, but in the run-upto the opening we were snapping at contractors’heels like fox terriers.”Metropolitan CopenhagenCombining the latest technology, Scandinavianfunctionality and a design that allows daylight tostream in to a depth of 20 metres, there is nodoubt that Copenhagen has the world’s most modernmetro. And with the projected new stage—the14 km long City Ring—Copenhagen could well beon the way to achieving the status of a metropolis.The City Ring is important in terms of traffi c—compared to the present, metro passenger numberscould be expected to double or even triple.“I anticipate that the City Ring will carry its fi rstpassengers in 2012. By then, all of centralCopenhagen will be within easy walking distanceof a metro station—making Copenhagen a truemetropolis,” concludes Torben Johansen.Project director for Copenhagen metro, Anders@ Odgård, aso@cowi.dkwww.orestadsselskabet.dk37


Hope for Lake Victoria38After an 18-month study trip, consultants cannow confi rm that the largest lake in Africa is inbetter condition than expected. However, thereare many good reasons why environmentalprotection work should begin nowEQUATORRWANDADEMOCRATICREPUBLICOF CONGOSUDANUGANDALakeVictoriaBURUNDIKilimanjaro5895 mTANZANIAETHIOPIAKENYAMt Kenya5199 mIndianOcean


Some of the fi shermenwho help feed the 30million people who livearound Lake Victoria.Photo: BAMBy Christina TækkerThe largest lake in Africa is in better condition thanexpected. This is the message of hope after agroup of Danes worked with a team of Africans for18 months to determine why Lake Victoria’s ecosystemhas changed.The World Bank initiated the project after beinginformed that the water quality of the lake hadbeen deteriorating over the last 40 years. It wasfeared that this would have disastrous consequencesfor the local fi shing industry, an importantsource of income for the 30 million people who livearound the lake. The most visible signs were theblue-green algae along the banks and a bed thatwas totally devoid of life in places. But althoughthere are still patches of blue-green algae at themouths of the rivers that fl ow into the lake andalong the banks near the large lakeside towns ofTanzania, Kenya and Uganda, much of LakeVictoria is in good shape.“It is somewhat surprising that the lake is in abetter state than the media and people would haveus believe,” comments project manager RossWarren, COWI, who completed the project in collaborationwith DHI Water & Environment. “Theproblem was essentially lack of data - and also itwas believed a sample taken from one part of thelake would indicate the condition of the whole lake.But our studies have shown this is not so, as thelake is so big and non-homogenous.”Clean water in the middle of the lakeThe result of the in-depth investigation is an analysisof what causes the pollution and a series ofrecommendations for how to rectify the problems.One of the methods adopted was to take watersamples from the lake and compare them withsamples taken 40 years ago. They showed thatconditions are worse than in the ‘60s but also thatin that period of time there have been large variationsin the concentrations of nutrients in the formof phosphates and nitrates. According to RossWarren, the general increase in concentrations isman-made but the large variations are due tonatural variations in the weather.Much of the water in Lake Victoria, however, isclean. In fact, in the middle of the lake it is possibleto see down to a depths of 8 metres—in Denmarkthat fi gure rarely exceeds 2 metres.Algae along the coastBut there are problems with water quality in LakeVictoria. Over 100,000 tonnes of atmospheric nitratesannually provide excellent growth conditionsfor algae, although according to Ross Warren thisis a global rather than a local problem. And whilethe levels of nitrates from industry, waste waterand the surrounding area are small, Ross Warrenpoints out that these discharges are causing theextensive algae problem in the bays and along thecoast. It would therefore help to build drainagesystems in the towns, collect and treat waste water,and encourage farmers to adopt differentmethods of cultivation.Greatest successRoss Warren predicts that, even if the recommendationsare adopted now, the fi rst improvementsin Lake Victoria will not be evident for another10 to 20 years. So the action plan proposedis very much a long-term endeavour that will notstop once the consultants have returned home.A large part of the project did indeed involvetraining local people to systematically take watersamples and hydraulic measurements from thelake and to analyse them in the laboratory. Andto keep doing so. It is highly probable that theWorld Bank will provide continued funding forthe project to the tune of DKK 2.5 billion over a15-year period.“It is comforting to know that the work we havekicked off will not come to an abrupt end. Thelocal staff are more than capable of continuingon their own and are willing and eager to solvethe problem through cross-border cooperation. Iwould almost go as far as to say that this has beenthe most successful part of the project,” concludesRoss Warren.@Project manager Ross Warren, row@cowi.dk39


Making the gradeSocial abilities are as important as professionalabilities, says COWI project managerBy Christina TækkerDiligence is a good quality. Butgood grades are no longer theonly important factor when assessingjob applicants. In the“Active involvementin sports and otherleisure pursuits canbe a plus”past it suffi cedfor COWI toview an applicant’sexaminationcertificate, but today personal qualitiesalso rate highly. With customercontact increasingly importantand competition sharp,note is taken of an applicant’sability to communicate. Similarly,active involvement in sports orother leisure pursuits involvinghuman contact can be a plus.“Being a superman is notenough,” says Jens Christofferson,project manager, Traffi cand Infrastructure Department,Århus.“You are going to be in closeproximity to your colleagues foreight hours a day—and if necessaryyou must be prepared tobattle on until three o’clock in thenight. And communication withcustomers is ex-“Of course we take note of consistentlymediocre grades, but itdoes not necessarily discourageus because human qualities alsocount for a lot,” he stated.tremely important. Jens Christoffersen does notPreviously, only go that far: “I can understandthat grades may suffer if, say,you have emigrated and havehad to learn a new languageparallel with your studies. Infact, I would say that extenuatingcircumstances are the onlyacceptable excuse for consistentlymediocre grades. Becauseyour grades indicate how genuineyour interest is in the subject.And I do not believe you acquirethat simply by ageing tenyears.”@Project manager JensChristoffersen, jec@cowi.dkvery few staff haddirect contact withcustomers, but today direct customercontact is much morebroad-based.”No mediocre gradesIn the autumn the Danish journal“The Engineer” phoned the tenbiggest engineering companiesin Denmark on this point. Groupmanaging director Lars Kragfrom Carl Bro commented thatgood grades show only howcapable you are at graduation—notwhat you will be likeat age 35.“Being a superman is no longerenough. You must also havethe ability to communicate withcustomers,” says COWI projectmanager Jens Christoffersen.Photo: BAM

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