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Prof Richard Jardine will deliver the BGA's 56th Rankine Lecture at Imperial College, London on "Geotechnics & Energy".
Geotechnical Engineering has matured sufficiently to contribute to some of society's grand challenges. This 56th Rankine Lecture considers the pressing problem of ensuring vital energy supplies while also recognising, mitigating and dealing with the climate consequences of fossil fuel consumption.
The Lecture's three main sections report recent geotechnical research relating to these wide ranging topics, illustrating some aspects of each with specific examples from the Speaker's portfolio. The first focuses on research to support offshore hydrocarbon production, considering platform foundations on the continental shelf and large landslide geohazards in deeper water.
The second considers research into climate change impacts in warming permafrost regions and engineering to raise flood defences founded on difficult organic soils. The final section reports on current research that is having a major impact on offshore wind turbine foundations and hence renewable energy economics.
The Lecture emphasises that integrating geology and rigorous analysis with advanced laboratory and field experiments is the key to resolving the complex geotechnical problems raised; careful full-scale field monitoring is also essential to checking reliability in practice. A collaborative approach is vital to such multi-faceted research and the contributions of the Speaker's International and British co-workers are recognised throughout the Lecture.