Revolutionising environmental modelling: a cost-effective and innovative solution for environmental impact assessments

Cloud-based environmental modelling

Computer simulations are used to model emissions and water flow to predict the risk to soil and groundwater. Environmental modelling has become an important tool used by architects and designers during the planning phase of buildings, factories and public infrastructures characterised by significant environmental impacts. Although the required simulations are well understood, their performance and ease of use are limited. In particular, models may take prohibitively long run-times on conventional computing resources. The challenge addressed in this case study is to improve the limitations of environmental modelling tools and provide a user-friendly platform for SMEs, public sector, and private stakeholders to access environmental software. 

The solution was the development of a customised platform that integrates environmental software with a single easy-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI) available to potential end-users. This GUI provides access to cloud-based supercomputing resources, resulting in an 80% reduction in simulation time and time to results, leading to significant cost benefits. The use of open-source software for the simulations has also resulted in a reduction in platform costs.

The benefits of this solution include significant cost savings of up to €24K per environmental impact assessment (EIA) for end-users, with the solution provider sharing 1/3 of this saving with customers. Furthermore, the platform is easily customisable to European environmental legislation, increasing competitiveness at the European level. Overall, this project offers a user-friendly platform that provides significant cost savings, increases revenue, and improves competitiveness for environmental service providers.