New technologies for geological prediction ahead of the tunnel face in TBM


New technologies for geological prediction ahead of the tunnel face in TBM

January 22


I’MNOVATION 2024 is here! Check out the open challenges and sign up.

February 29


Haven’t applied yet, run! The deadline for applications is February 29th.

May 17


The finalist startups will pitch to a committee that will decide the winner. This startup will develop a pilot in a real environment for 6 months with us.

December 11


Each team will present the results obtained to the decision committee that will evaluate the continuity and scaling of the program.

50 000 €
50 000 €

In tunnelling, a detailed understanding of the ground is essential. This includes geological characterisation to select appropriate excavation methods, management of geotechnical risks such as collapse and groundwater, structural design that adapts to geological conditions, efficient choice of machinery, and minimisation of environmental impacts. A thorough geological analysis beforehand is crucial to ensure the safety and efficiency of the tunnel project.

TBMs are machines with very high excavation performances, but they are still very sensitive to geological uncertainty along the route and to unplanned events such as: faults, caverns, water pockets, boulders, foundations, etc. This geological uncertainty is the biggest cost overrun in a TBM construction project. Therefore, it is of great importance to know the geological conditions ahead of the excavation face to avoid performance losses or critical failures in the TBM, as this knowledge will allow to automatically adjust the operating parameters or to execute the most appropriate treatments for ground conditioning.

ACCIONA is launching this challenge to identify a geological reconnaissance or exploration system, both at the level of sensorisation and at the level of interpretation and visualisation software that will enable a geological characterisation of the terrain to be carried out. This system must provide new geological reconnaissance techniques for tunnel boring machines ahead of the excavation face, both from the surface and from the machine itself. The requirements for the solution are:

  • Non-intrusive solution to the environment
  • Does not affect machine productivity
  • Enable consistent and coherent identification of profound changes in terrain characteristics.

Frequent questions

Yes. This Open Innovation Program is designed for the co-creation and co-development with startups, spinoffs and scaleups. Although we wouldn’t expect to work with mature companies, ACCIONA understands that developing a new product is hard and pivoting to find the Market-Fit needs from time and work, so we will analyse case by case.

Yes. As companies grow, they develop commercial agreements. Corporate open innovation programs are one of them, although ACCIONA wouldn’t accept to develop a project if the startup is working on a project with the same scope with a competitor.

Usually, ACCIONA will publish that a pilot has been developed with your company at the end of the project. If you need to share some kind of information of the project, privately or publicly, please contact us.

At the beginning of the project, the ownership of the IP is from each part. Only after the ending of the project, ACCIONA and your company would negotiate over the results of the product or service developed if ACCIONA has had a relevant participation.

No. Open Innovation program doesn’t take any equity. Only at the end of the project, ACCIONA would analyse if an investment has a fit in the company strategy and if the startup has an investment round open.

No. Sometimes startups captable is complex. We would accept that one of the founders signs if he/she has power of attorney.