The increasing share of unpredictable renewable energy generating technologies (such as wind and solar power) needs to go in-hand with energy storage technologies. Large-scale energy storage technologies such as pumped hydro storage are widely available and have been operating successfully in several regions. These technologies use the height difference between two basins for storing potential energy. This is done taking advantage of the natural height differences available in mountainous regions. However, flat topography areas such as Northern Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium cannot make use of conventional pumped hydro storage. That is why the ALPHEUS project is researching the feasibility of low-head pumped hydro storage stations in the North Sea.
Within the ALPHEUS research, several members reviewed the state of the art of the components of low-head seawater pumped hydro storage projects (tidal energy and seawater high head pumped hydro storage) with the aim of making a preliminary evaluation of the feasibility for low-head seawater pumped hydro storage in the North Sea. All these efforts are condensed into the review paper “Low-head pumped hydro storage: A review on civil structure designs, legal and environmental aspects to make its realization feasible in seawater” published in the journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews from Elsevier. The findings of the review are promising respecting feasibility of low-head pumped hydro storage, proven that the main failure mechanisms of the civil structure are widely known from the hydraulic structures literature. The innovative character of this technology (it has never been built nor a prototype tested) opens up several research fields in the field of reversible pump-turbine designs, fish friendliness, legal and regulatory aspects among others.
The ALPHEUS project will work at filling in the main research gaps. Within the TU Braunschweig’s Leichtweiß-Institut für Wasserbau, a scaled-model of new counter-rotating reversible pump turbine design will be tested under different possible future working conditions.
For more information of the ALPHEUS project you can visit: https://www.tu-braunschweig.de/en/lwi/hyku/research/ongoing-projects/alpheus
R. Ansorena Ruiz, L.H. de Vilder, E.B. Prasasti, M. Aouad, A. De Luca, B. Geisseler, K. Terheiden, S. Scanu, A. Miccoli, V. Roeber, M. Marence, R. Moll, J.D. Bricker, N. Goseberg (2022). Low-head pumped hydro storage: A review on civil structure designs, legal and environmental aspects to make its realization feasible in seawater. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2022.112281