Officine Maccaferri


A 15.6m reinforced soil bund is built to protect Qatar airport fuel tank from explosion


Maccaferri mitigates risk of explosion at Al Udeid Air Base using a reinforced soil bund solution

The Ministry of Defence GHQ, State of Qatar, needed to mitigate the risk of explosion to the area surrounding a fuel tank area at the Al Udeid Air Base, south west of Doha. The client also wanted to reduce the environmental impact of the solution in the area which is located close to the desert. Maccaferri proposed a reinforced soil bund as an efficient and economical solution to the problem.

Fuel tank safety is an industrial hazard faced by the Ministry of Defence GHQ, that was looking for a solution to protect the airbase from an explosion within the fuel tank area of the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The airport is located close to the desert where the high temperature and arid climate do not allow for the growth of natural vegetation. Yet the client required a solution which would reduce the environmental impact of any structure engineered to protect the tanks from this risk.

Neither a vegetated face nor a stone face finish were considered viable or cost-effective solutions owing to the extreme heat and lack of available suitable stone in the area. Maccaferri proposed a reinforced soil bund as an efficient and economical solution that would enable the use of soil available at the project site and provide the strength and flexibility to absorb the impact of a blast.

Reinforced soil bunds form a stable barrier against explosion or other impacts as they impede the path of a blast and absorb high levels of energy due their ability to deform without rupturing. Since it is also highly resistant to damage, the reinforced soil bund also minimises the dispersal of debris during explosion.

Maccaferri’s solution involved the construction of a 15.6 m high bund using its environmentally friendly modular Green Terramesh system, with ParaGrid geogrid for primary soil reinforcement.

Static and seismic analyses of the structure were performed in accordance with BS:8006-2010 and AASHTO-FHWA respectively.

The geogrid combination was chosen to enable the re-use of soil materials found on the project site. Therefore imported structural fill for the backfill for the bund was not required. This eliminated the need for quarried stone and the truck journeys associated with it, thereby reducing congestion and pollution in the area.

The soil reinforced face of the bund stands at an 80 degree angle and faces the tank area. The back face of the bund is a shallower angle and did not require soil reinforcement.

As the face of the bund did not have a hard durable rock finish or the capacity to vegetate in the arid conditions, the face was coated with a layer of shotcrete.

The project demonstrates Maccaferri’s ability to work with the client offering technical expertise to deliver a customized, cost-effective and environmentally sound solution to mitigate the industrial hazard.

For more information on this project, download our case history.

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