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Transferring sustainability knowledge from Japan to Hong Kong

27 March 2019

A delegation from ICE Hong Kong Association Graduates and Students visited engineering organisations in Japan to learn about sustainability and disaster-resistant structures.

Transferring sustainability knowledge from Japan to Hong Kong

Young civil engineers from ICE Hong Kong have gained insight into new infrastructure designed to cope with natural disasters after a visit to Japan.

The ICE Hong Kong Association (HKA) Graduates and Students (G&S) Japan Delegation 2019 visited Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan, from 5 to 10 March 2019.

They visited companies and facilities to learn about the latest innovative design concepts for buildings and infrastructure in a country that’s prone to catastrophic natural disasters, such as earthquakes, droughts and typhoons.

After visiting the Disaster Mitigation Research Centre (DMRC) of Nagoya University and Obayashi Technical Research Institute in Tokyo, the delegates learnt that Japan’s latest seismic control systems are highly effective against earthquakes.

The use of base isolation system, actuators and Obayashi Corporation’s Laputa 2D (Active Vibration Control Technology) helped to minimise structural damage and prevent the collapse of buildings after earthquakes. They can absorb most of the seismic energy and prevent the forces from transferring from the ground to the buildings.

Moreover, the delegates were inspired by the innovative shield tunnelling method URUP (Ultra Rapid Under-Pass) proposed by Obayashi Corporation.

URUP is an innovative tunnelling method that enables the launch and retrieval of tunnel-boring machines at ground level to save construction time and cost and reduce disturbance to ground traffic.

Sustainable development

The delegates also found out more about the latest technologies in Japan which contributed to sustainable development.

The delegates visited Shin-Koto Incineration Plant in Tokyo, where they witnessed the waste treatment and incineration process.

This waste processing facility can incinerate 1,800 tonnes of waste per day and generate 50,000 kilowatts of energy for the nearby residents.

In addition, the ash produced during the combustion process can be transformed into slag. The slag can be recycled and turned into useful constituents of bituminous material or paving blocks.

Following in the footsteps

Hong Kong is also following the footsteps of Tokyo. The Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) is currently being developed and phrase one of IWMF will adopt advanced incineration technology to reduce the size of municipal solid waste.

After taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Nagoya to Tokyo, the delegates visited Arup in Tokyo.

Structural engineers from Arup presented their signature projects in Japan such as Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Sony City and Oita Prefectural Art Museum.

  • Michael Wong, member of the ICE group