Although not yet widely used, but with greater predictability than solar or wind energy, tidal power has huge global potential for future electricity generation.
And as experts in water management, the Dutch are at the forefront of the industry. Tocardo Tidal Turbines, a leader in tidal energy, needed to install a new, state-of-the-art Tidal Power Plant (TPP) on the Netherlands’ Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier. Circumstances demanded that Mammoet come up with an innovative installation method. However, it could only be executed in an extremely small time window when all the necessary variables were perfectly aligned.
The TPP plant is a 500-ton steel pipe structure housing five turbines. It was the first of its kind to be installed, and further installations are expected following evaluation.
There was one important consideration from the start: to safeguard the strength and integrity of the storm surge barrier, drilling or otherwise altering the structure was forbidden.
To make installation possible, Mammoet devised an innovative hanging system that could be clamped onto the barrier. It featured a pull-rod mechanism that allowed the TPP to be held securely in place. Mammoet’s installation method would use the receding tide: the TPP, on its barge, would move down with the natural tide movement until the hooks on the structure could slot into place, ready to be fastened securely onto the surge barrier with the pull-rod mechanism.
Conditions on the water during the execution needed to be as still as possible. A combination of weather, lowest tidal difference, and currents, meant that on a particular day in September, circumstances were right and the team was granted a 30-minute window to install the plant. To further improve conditions for the installation, the nearby surge barrier doors were closed or (partially) opened in a particular combination, to make sure the current would be as still as possible.
At the right moment the turbine structure, mounted on SPMTs, was transported to the barrier on two coupled barges. The SPMTs maneuvered the TPP into the correct position as the receding tide then lowered the TPP onto its support mechanism.
Working with gravity allowed Mammoet to come up with an installation method that left the integrity of the storm surge barrier intact and execute the project flawlessly, on time, and on budget. Tocardo Tidal Turbines is poised to expand its tidal energy solutions across the Netherlands and beyond.