Basic human rights speak directly to the provision of infrastructure. The objective is the cost effective and efficient delivery of water, fuels, electricity, communication, transportation and the operation and maintenance of these fundamental utilities, taking advantage of synergies to improve human lives.
Water and waste are and must be treated for use, disposal and to be recycled. Fuels to fire power plants, manufacturing processes, stoves, machinery and vehicles. Electricity powers many consumption devices, appliances and equipment. Communication transmits and stores ideas, trade and transactions. Transportation moves people and property via air, sea and land.
All such utilities, with operational and maintenance (O&M) cost and schedules embedded, have reliability, as their main concern.
Water and sanitation are the most basic of human necessities. Essential for acceptable standards of healthy living, the best available methods are used for collection, treatment, testing, distribution and recycling. Water, from natural rainfall, ground storage (lakes, rivers and wells) and oceans, must be collected, stored, purified for human consumption, tested, distributed and recycled.
Sanitation, the recycling and processing of waste, whether in solid liquid or gas forms, employs water to transport most bio-waste to be disposed of, chemically treated, or positioned to be composted, releasing methane gas, if captured, processed into (renewable) natural gas, while the remaining solid waste is broken down to inert substances, used as fertilizers.
Hence, water and sanitation connections are made to supply residential, commercial, and industrial structures, and networked to those large-scale treatment and storage facilities.
Fossil fuels have been the main source of human industrial progress. Extracted from the planet in a solid, liquid or gaseous form, and processed into energy, which is networked or stored mainly for use by industry and transport sectors.
Coal is mined in a solid state and transported via rail or trucks to fire electricity generators.
Natural gas, in its gaseous form is released from surrounding deposits of crude oil, transported via pipeline networks for use or to be processed, compressed or liquefied, to fire generators, operate equipment and run vehicles.
Crude oil is located, drilled for, and pumped, in a liquid state, transported to refineries and processed into heavy oils to lubricate machinery, further, refined into diesel, kerosene and gasoline, additionally transported via distribution networks to power various types of industries and vehicles.
Electricity is seen as an essential component in human development. Generating electricity is still mostly powered by fossil fuels but is being heavily challenged by renewable fuels, while still delivered via one-way electricity distribution grids for human consumption.
Solar generates electricity using light from the sun as its fuel but requires a fueled manufacturing process to produce and dispose of photovoltaic cells.
Wind turbines, using the movement of air as its fuel, are judged as the best because of its long-life span but also requires a fueled manufacturing process.
The same is true for tidal generation, fueled by ocean currents, which still must factor in the production and disposal of equipment.
Geothermal is still being studied as to its long-term effects on the planet.
Nuclear power plants are assessed to carry the most risks.
Distribution grids are inclusive of switch sub-stations with step up transformers and miles of cable between residential, commercial, and industrial structures.
Communication is the basis of global human relationships. Modern information networks enable an exchange of ideas, coordinate trade, and stores transactions, allowing individual and groups to engage, worldwide. Ideas transmitted via voice, notifications, texting, messaging, collaborating, recording, conferencing, documenting, ticketing, data storing, etc.
Trade is initiated, negotiated, monitored and verified across business platforms, while, transactions are originated, tracked, confirmed and audited, to permit payments.
The technology involved in such communication networks is complex and evolving. Rooted in software, which moves data packets across multiple networked structures, built on old telephone systems digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband, and through coaxial television cable, and on to land mobile radio (LMR), all retailed by an internet service provider (ISP). ISPs purchase access to larger networks with more bandwidth and very high speeds, built on fiber optics, moving data through plastic or glass wires as light waves, or satellite internet better serving rural areas.
The industry is amid sweeping changes as it moves from LMR to an entirely new technology, long term evolution (LTE).
Transportation connects human providers/producers to users/consumers worldwide. Distribution networks; air and sea routes with entry ports, and land routes inclusive of paved roads and highways, rails/tracks, bridges and tunnels, are built to support passenger and cargo movement via carriages/vehicles.
Cable connected carriages are mostly installed to carry people vertically or horizontally, while rail carriages move people and cargo via rails/tracks, bridges and tunnels only horizontally.
Pipelines transport liquid and gasses in purposeful directions to preset destinations. A combination of rails/tracks laid underground in tunnels below heavily populated areas, otherwise known as a subway, are mostly to move people quickly around that major city.
Operations and maintenance (O&M) are scheduled to give the best performance and longest working life out of appliances, machines and equipment employed, while breakdowns are anticipated and planned for, with crews standing by to effect emergency repairs.
The future of infrastructure will provide better living standards. The mission is to design, improve, commission and regulate, mini interconnected networks combining multiple utilities, to benefit residential, commercial, and industrial pod structures.
Water and waste essentials will take on a plug and play environment, with multiple interconnected area networks, allowing interchangeable links to monitor and report on usage. Water purification apparatus will be integrated into building pods; collection, storage and treatment, will therefore be recycled to minimise usage. Waste will be separated and sorted to compost into fertilisers, produce natural gas and recycled to other products.
Fuels to fire electrical plants and transportation vehicles, will exhaust cleaner healthier emissions into the air, replacing existing fuels used, which burn and exhaust heavy pollutants into cities’ atmospheres. Natural gas produced from capturing methane gas from deteriorating organic sources, fossils or biodegradable materials, burns the cleanest, with near-zero emissions,
Electricity distributed via two-way mini-grids, for residential and commercial usage will come from renewable fuel sources operating on that particular building structure. While, industrial usage will incorporate its own power sources, noting that, the manufacturing and disposal or recycling of electricity generating equipment will grow to use renewable fuels in its own processes.
Communication will see Individuals using 5G mobile services licenses in the 3,400–3,800 megahertz frequency band. While commercial and industrial users will adopt high-end IP phone systems, workspace collaboration, visual studio and video conferencing solutions, big data hybrid cloud storage and security solutions, and digital transformation, to monitor, track and instruct the Internet of Things (IOT). For example; to allow vehicles to share information about their surroundings with substructure, which can be used to change traffic signals.
Transportation improvements will be slow in coming, as popular methods and equipment are presently well integrated into societies. Private passengers are moved via electric escalators, cars, speed, and luxury boats, airplanes. Public passengers employ; elevators, buses, trains, cruise boats, commercial aircrafts. Cargo utilizes trolleys, cable lifts, trucks, trains, fishing vessels, container ships and airplanes. Industry engages extraction heavy land moving equipment, and drilling platform rigs, processing barges, and aircraft carriers, high speed aircrafts. And tubal transport is being researched to power seawater to push a bullet type carriage forward.
Operations and maintenance (O&M) will further develop these mentioned utilities as technology advances, expanding networks as communities grows and delivering services and supplies dependability.
Terrance A. Jennings