On the weekend of 17–18 April Beerenberg was able to fit its environmentally friendly water and frost protection solution in a tunnel for the first time. The pilot project was carried out on an old yet fully operational railway tunnel on the Bratsberg line in Telemark (Norway) which had suffered severe problems with moisture. Water was constantly dripping onto the overhead line in the tunnel, which meant Bane NOR had to undertake extensive ice removal work every winter. In addition to Bane NOR, representatives of Nye Veier and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration also attended the inspection.
“We found that all these three major operators were interested in the project,” says Kjetil Stöckel-Kvamme at Beerenberg, adding that Bane NOR has already started planning its next project with Beerenberg’s water and frost protection solution.
“It’s a little breakthrough. One thing is having a solution that looks and sounds good and sensible, but without fitting it in a real-life setting we do not have a reference point. Now we do,” Geir Harris says.
Picture from the installation in the tunnel on the Bratsberg line.
A vast market
The overall tunnel upgrade market in Norway is huge. The country is in the process of tackling a number of major road improvement projects. Most of them involve fire protection measures such as upgrading existing water and frost protection systems. This is an area where Beerenberg can help.
“However, the costs and methodologies associated with conventional solutions are of such a vast scale that Norway is already 6–7 years behind schedule. The country simply does not have the capacity to complete the necessary upgrades using existing solutions. For that reason there is a great need for solutions that are more eco-friendly and less expensive,” says Geir Harris.
Considerable environmental benefits
The solution developed by Beerenberg is a non-flammable insulation mat for water and frost protection capable of withstanding mechanical and chemical impact. It is also environmentally friendly and very easy to maintain and fit.
Beerenberg´s Geir Harris
Adopting Beerenberg’s solution therefore generates significant environmental benefits compared with competing solutions.
“A conservative estimate is that the carbon footprint of the materials will be reduced by around 60 per cent. Our solution will also cut the environmental impact of transportation and the use of machinery thanks to its low weight, transportation-friendly design and installation method,” Geir Harris explains.
Tailored for tunnels
The existing solution in use in most tunnels today involves applying PE foam for frost insulation and then covering it with sprayed concrete.
“Unfortunately, this solution poses a major fire risk. This is why Beerenberg saw the need for a new solution based on materials used in the oil and gas industry. We wanted to tailor a product for tunnels that does not amplify fire or smoke. This should be a given in tunnels with limited evacuation routes and ventilation,” says Geir Harris.
Beerenberg´s Kjetil Stöckel-Kvamme
“Our solution provides a number of other benefits too, of course, such as reduced insulation thickness, lead times and cost. It is also easy to repair, which again cuts operating costs,” concludes Kjetil Stöckel-Kvamme.