In the COINCO South seminar on May 30th, hosted by the City of Stralsund in the beautiful City Hall,  the first figures were presented on what dimension a tunnel between Sweden and Germany represents. Students from the FH Stralsund have been working on the technical issues related to building such a tunnel, the last semester. They have been digging into questions like the logistics of the construction (trucks versus trains), how long would it take to build it, and what to do with the masses.

After a warm welcome from the City of Stralsund by Wirtschaftsförderung CEO Peter Fürst, COINCO GmbH CEO Knut Olav Halvorsen gave a background and a general status of how the COINCO project is developing in general. Important development is that the Norwegians have in the National Transportation Plan decided to build with HSR standard from Oslo to the Swedish border (Halden). Another is that China is showing clear interest in the COINCO-project, and in Stockholm  on April 10th, China offered cooperation and financing solutions.  A third development is that DB International is supporting the project through employing Halvorsen which also ensures long term commitment for further development.

After Dr Robert Sturk of SKANSKA presented the Shortcut report, which shows that it is possible to construct such a mega tunnel with tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from a technological and geological point of view, the students Stefan Engel, Conny Kapler, Carsten Mertel, Susanne Mittelstedt, Aileen Steinau (presenter), Ulrike Stelzig and under the leadership of Prof. Dr. H.-P. Landvogt from FH Stralsund, gave a strong and systematic presentation on some of the main figures of the engineering aspects of the project. It was quite fascinating for the about 100 people strong audience to see the students analysis and their suggestions on what the masses from  such a tunnel can be used for (on the German side). The students have calculated that with modern TBM, and given the excellent geological conditions (chalk) in this corridor, it would only take 4.9 years to construct a tunnel of 120 km.

The masses and the logistic challenges in the construction period are of course immense: Just for the German side it would sum up to 8,3 billion m3 of chalk, which one could theoretically build a tower, with a basis of 1000 m2 and as high as Mount Everest. The masses are mainly chalk, which is a resource of significant value, both in the cement industry and of course the chalk industry, but it can also be used for building higher dykes towards the Baltic sea and secure the inland waterways – which is a relevant topic in Germany these days. Or it could be used to construct artificial islands in the Baltic Sea  The students suggest that a part of the masses should be temporarily stored in North East Germany somewhere, and then later diverted into different economic possibilities.

More studies can done in this respect, and the FH Stralsund is one of the pioneer academic institutions that will look further into different topics.  The project is a cooperation and a part of the COINCO Challenge (a sub project of the COINCO South) where six German Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are participating in an “Open Research Program” around the COINCO South project. Different questions and topics are investigated and the aim is that the HEI will not only grow into a network of cooperation between themselves, in order to develop intellectual multi-disciplinary challenges for both students and professors, but also develop into a platform for stronger cooperation between academia, industry and society.