I first started working with Geobear in 2016 after the CEO (Otso Lahtinen) contacted me to explore possible collaboration. Although I was not initially familiar with their process and did not immediately see the relevance to my area of expertise in tunneling and underground space, it soon became apparent that their technology was eminently scalable, and I recognised the significant potential in many applications.
In 2017, I established an Independent Consultancy business and have since worked with Geobear to investigate the real-time use of their soil treatment and ground improvement system. Traditionally, geopolymer materials are injected into the ground for strengthening purposes, or to remediate settlement damage that has already occurred. Having worked for many years on projects such as Crossrail – over the years we applied extensive conventional compensation grouting to protect the existing built environment in real-time from the effect of tunnelling-induced ground movements as work progressed – it occurred to me that the same job could be achieved more efficiently using the incredible power of Geobear’s Geopolymers. The small size of the plant and equipment Geobear use, coupled with the impressive power of the expansive Geopolymers, makes for an ideal, low-disruption alternative to traditional compensation grouting.
In addition to real-time displacement control, I have recognised a tremendous range of other applications, and over the last three years, I have worked with Geobear to make these market-ready by supporting their development and application, backed by sound engineering principles. Extensive research in collaboration with the University of Warwick and a range of industrial partners has been conducted over this period, and reliable design tools have now been developed which have helped to demystify this technology for prospective clients. In parallel, a team of industry experts has been working on the preparation of an industrial guidance specification which is due to be published shortly.
There is still much to do and no doubt many future applications are still to be discovered, but in the meantime, I am pleased with the progress made and see this technology gaining widespread adoption in the near future as it has the potential to support the construction of major infrastructure projects.
Professor Colin M Eddie FREng
20th Sept 2019