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US $239.8m FAIR particle accelerator facility to be constructed in Darmstadt, Germany

A US $239.8m Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) particle accelerator facility is set to be constructed in Germany by STRABAG and its subsidiary ZÜBLIN. Working under a consortium arrangement, the two companies will build the extended shell of the southern section of the FAIR particle accelerator facility in Darmstadt, Germany. When it is completed, the facility will be the world’s only particle accelerator facility for cutting-edge research into the evolution of the universe and the structure of matter. FAIR will be able to produce matter in the laboratory that otherwise only occurs in the depths of space.

According to STRABAG CEO Thomas Birtel, the heart of the facility is the underground circular accelerator currently under construction with a circumference of 1.1 km. The accelerator passes through an underground tunnel lying up to 17 m below the surface. The facility’s southern section mainly includes the downstream storage rings and experiment stations. “We are delighted to be able to apply the enormous variety of our group’s competence – from building construction to ground engineering – to this outstanding research project,” he added.

FAIR is being built at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt. The partners behind the customer FAIR GmbH come from Germany, Finland, France, India, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Sweden. Construction is scheduled to start in June 2020 with completion in summer 2023.

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Technical infrastructure, tunnel sections and 24 buildings 

Around 3,000 researchers from all over the world will work at FAIRafter facility commissioning. The circular accelerator is complemented by a complex system of storage rings and experiment stations. When completed, the 150,000 m² site will house a total of 24 buildings as well as tunnel sections and complex technical infrastructure.

Twelve of the 24 structure will be built by the ZÜBLIN and STRABAG consortium, including various underground facilities for beam guidance, buildings for experiments and warehouses with heavy crane runways, etc. for managing and equipping the mechanical systems. The scope of services also includes various storage and supply buildings.

ZÜBLIN working on FAIR since July 2017

Through its subsidiary Züblin Spezialtiefbau GmbH, ZÜBLIN has been involved in the mega-construction project since July 2017. As the technical lead of a consortium, the company has been providing the complete design-and-build excavation services in the northern section of the facility, including retaining works, dewatering and pile foundation. The consortium also includes Max Bögl Stiftung & Co. KG, Stump Spezialtiefbau GmbH and STRABAG AG, Cologne.

Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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