Predictive Intelligent system to optimize BREAKwater maintenance

DOI: UPC, AZTI, APB, & IHC. (2023). PI-BREAK project (Predictive Intelligent system to optimize BREAKwater maintenance). AZTI. 


PI-BREAK project is part of the call for R+D+i projects in strategic lines, in public-private collaboration of the state program oriented to society’s challenges, within the framework of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research of Innovation 2017 -2020. 

PI-BREAK addresses the challenge of extending the lifespan of port infrastructure under a range of future climatic/exploitation scenarios, introducing Predictive Intelligent maintenance to reduce risks and enlarge the safe operating space for BREAKwaters. The project will develop breakwater adaptation pathways with tipping points for service and ultimate limit states, together with a portfolio of low-carbon footprint interventions to support automated maintenance decisions. From this basis, PI-BREAK aims to advance the Spanish leadership in breakwater engineering, developing an intelligent aggregation of multiplatform monitoring and hybrid modelling tools that combine advanced hydraulic facilities and numerical coupled codes. Based on artificial intelligence, PI-BREAK will aggregate the resulting multisource data and simulations, linking short to long-term scales (i.e. from storm events to decadal projections), together with a portfolio of sequenced maintenance interventions to develop adaptation pathways (adaptation-through -maintenance) for critical breakwater infrastructures. These pathways will comply with a holistic framework for breakwater analysis and will b supported by an intelligent system for predictive maintenance. Such predictive maintenance will reduce risks under operational and survival conditions, contributing to infrastructure risk reduction, port exploitation efficiency, reduced environmental footprint and the welfare of coastal societies that depend on port systems.

To address these challenges, PI-BREAK will combine recent advances in modelling and instrumentation, developed in EU/Spanish research projects and merging the expertise of public/private group leaders in the maritime field. The proposed risk reduction and climatic adaptation/mitigation will foster new investments and better informed decisions for breakwater maintenance, increasing the social return from recent research investments (e.g. H2020 projects). The project outreach (with open data access) looks for a wider uptake of breakwater adaptation-through-maintenance in Spain, EU and worldwide, based on proactive interventions steered by multiplatform observations and hybrid modelling. The innovative combination of hydraulic, numerical and observational data, supported by a stakeholder-friendly visualization platform and dashboard, will support decisions to enlarge the infrastructure life cycle and extend the service provided to next generations, with acceptable risk levels and environmental impacts. From this basis, PI-BREAK will promote predictive maintenance for adaptation, not yet well introduced in breakwater engineering, by structured outreach addressing port public/private stakeholders and promoting the values of low impact interventions and sequenced maintenance for enlarged safe operating spaces for the breakwater that extend its life cycle.

The synergy among physical oceanography, civil engineering and ecological disciplines, supported by an efficient association of academic and industrial partners, will result in a new holistic framework for breakwater analysis and associated environmental impacts, widening the application field of hydraulic, numerical and observational technologies to reduce risks and support decisions for critical infrastructure, whose resilience will be enhanced as a result of the proposed developments. The benchmark dataset and marketing platform, developed within the project, will foster the exportability of the approach/tools/results to other port authorities, private companies in the construction/instrumentation/insurance fields and other relevant stakeholders. Such exportation will be supported by the demos for the selected application case (Punta Lucero breakwater in Bilbao port) to achieve an increasing impact in port engineering and infrastructure predictive maintenance. The joint team production will be marketed during and after the project by the project companies, supported by the powerful combination of research/engineering centres participating in PI-BREAK.

Project Information



Contract number



MCIN / AEI /10.13039/501100011033 

Next Generation EU”/ PRTR" 

Start date

1 December 2021

End date

30 November 2024