Is harvesting blue energy feasible in the Sea Scheldt river, Flanders, Belgium? Finding a suitable location for testing different in-river free flow turbines

Toon Goormans, Steven Smets, Roel Notelé

Friday 3 july 2015

12:00 - 12:15h at Europe 1 (level 0)

Themes: (T) Hydro-environment, (ST) Renewable energy resources

Parallel session: 15G. Environment - Renewable

Interest in harvesting tidal energy, the so-called blue energy, is increasing, as proven by the many research efforts to improve the technology and the many investigations for developable sites. The main goal of the European project PRO-TIDE, funded by the Interreg IVB North-West Europe program is “to increase the use of renewable energy by promoting innovative, sustainable and cost effective solutions for tidal energy through research, development, testing and comparison of different forms of tidal energy at different locations and circumstances, in coastal zones and estuaries”. Within PRO-TIDE Waterwegen en Zeekanaal nv (W&Z), a Flemish governmental waterways manager, investigates the feasibility of tidal energy harvesting in the Sea Scheldt, on the one hand with a conventional turbine at the future tidal lock in Heusden, and on the other hand with free flow turbines in the Sea Scheldt. This second part includes testing of three technologies, each in different stages of development, in the Sea Scheldt. The paper presents the methodology used in search for a suitable location to perform these tests. Starting from energy density calculations from the results of an existing two-dimensional hydrodynamic model of the Sea Scheldt, the list of interesting locations is narrowed down by considering other aspects, such as shipping traffic, the presence and ownership of existing infrastructure, and the velocity range. Site visits to the remaining locations, and investigation of available bathymetrical data led to three remaining locations, at which current measurements were performed. The results ultimately led to the selection of the bridge at Temse to be a suitable location for performing the turbine tests. At the moment of writing the test period with the first technology has been successfully completed.