Future Infrastructure Star Challenge Winners at the Year in Infrastructure

Author photo: Sharada Prahladrao
BySharada Prahladrao
Project Success Story

In December 2021, Bentley Systems’ Year in Infrastructure Conference was hosted virtually. On day 2 of the Conference, Nicholas Cumins, chief product officer at Bentley Systems, spoke about global climate change and the social demand for more sustainable, resilient, and affordable infrastructure. “It is our shared responsibility as the infrastructure engineering community, to advance infrastructure to meet the needs of our society and overcome the challenges of our time,” he said. The highlight of the second day was undoubtedly the 2021 Going Digital Awards in Infrastructure, which recognize the extraordinary work of Bentley software users advancing infrastructure design, construction, and operations throughout the world. Sixteen independent jury panels selected the 57 finalists from nearly 300 nominations submitted by more than 230 organizations from 45 countries, encompassing 19 categories.

The winners were felicitated by Katriona Lord-Levins, chief success officer at Bentley Systems.  Here is the full list of winners. An interesting segment on the Future Infrastructure Star Challenge followed.

Future Infrastructure Star Challenge Winners

Launched in spring 2021, the Bentley Education program helps students develop the digital skills that are critical for building a qualified talent pipeline for infrastructure. As part of this initiative, Bentley Education established the Future Infrastructure Star Challenge, which encouraged students from high school to higher education and technical schools to develop a concept or idea for how they can change the world with infrastructure.

Bentley has always been investing in education, but now they are looking at the industry gaps and how they could be bridged. The objective is to provide learning licenses at no cost to encourage students to come forward and step into the world of infrastructure engineering, seizing the immense possibilities it opens for them. About 3,000 universities globally have adopted Bentley technologies, and connections with educators and students have seen an exponential rise.

Katriona announced the winners of the Judge’s Choice and the People’s Choice from 144 submissions.  

Infrastructure Star Challenge


The Judge’s Choice winner, which included a $5,000 prize, went to Elif Gungormus Deliismail from the University Izmir Institute of Technology in Turkey. The project, “Mini-modular Plant for Digitized Sustainable Campus,” was done on the university campus (32 buildings with a population of 7,655). The main concept for her project is to design a mini-modular plant for a digitally sustainable campus, making university buildings self-sustainable so that electricity, water, and fuels could be properly utilized, minimizing the supply infrastructure.

Elif used ContextCapture and drone technology to create a 3D model of a rural academic campus to illustrate how a mini-modular plant coupled with smart centralized energy management and low carbon fuel sources can transform energy performance. ContextCapture created a reality model not only of the original existing campus, but also of the campus with all the modular plants operating in its vicinity. By integrating Industrial IoT, artificial intelligence, and sensors, the modular energy plant was transformed into a smart energy system through the creation of a digital twin. The digital twin optimizes energy usage on campus, enabling the monitoring and scheduling of energy supply based on activity levels. Through digital intelligence, operations and management can observe and identify asset risk, implementing predictive maintenance processes to ensure asset reliability for each of the mini-modular units. “Self-sustaining buildings are next-generation, environmentally friendly architecture, which will hopefully be a significant issue for infrastructure development for (future) generations.”

Using Bentley applications not only helped design this innovative energy solution, but it also facilitated digital asset management, as well as tracking and locating of assets, which are critical to ensuring reliable operations of the 60 campus mini modules. “One of the main benefits of using Bentley applications is asset management,” said Elif.

The People’s Choice winner, which included a $2,000 prize, went to Rodman Raul Cordova Rodriguez from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for his “Innovative Dam and Hydroelectric Project.” Concerned about the global energy crisis and water shortage, he decided to join the challenge and develop a creative, innovative, and sustainable idea in order to help solve the world’s real problems with the use of technology and recyclable materials. “More than 3 million people do not have access to water, and more than 2 billion are living with extreme water stress,” stated Rodman. By 2025, 66 percent of the world’s population could suffer from water scarcity.

He examined how to improve water supply capabilities and hydroelectric operations through the lifespan of a multipurpose dam. Rodman came up with an innovative idea for a sustainable earth dam that uses plastic recycled asphalt for the dam’s core. A flexible and ductile viscoelastic plastic material, the recycled asphalt provides waterproofing, prevents water seepage through the core of the dam, and has capacity to accommodate forensic displacements and seismic loads that could lead to the formation of cracks. By reusing and recycling materials, the dam obtains clean hydroelectric energy in a sustainable, profitable, safe, and reliable manner, aiming to preserve natural resources and achieving economic scalability. Integrating scalable technology in the form of sensors and IoT, this dam can be replicated in indigent areas where it is needed to tackle and avoid water scarcity, as well as contribute to the generation of electricity and have a positive impact on the health of the communities. 

Using Bentley’s PLAXIS applications, Rodman verified the technical feasibility, scalability, and longevity of the innovative dam infrastructure. The technology analysis results demonstrated that the recycled asphalt is functioning as desired and requires little or no maintenance. Bentley’s PLAXIS application facilitates the integration of field geotechnical data and IoT, using internal and external sensors, such as seepage monitors, corner reflectors, and a weather station on the dam to measure and monitor different parameters.

Watch the executive sessions and the Going Digital Awards winners and finalists’ presentations from the 2021 Year in Infrastructure and Going Digital Awards virtual event on-demand here.




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