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How does one make waterways greener?

In partnership with The European Commission
How does one make waterways greener?
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Laurence Alexandrowicz
Published on
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Benjamin Dewals, Professor in Water engineering, University of Liège

Benjamin Dewals, Professor in Water engineering, University of Liège

There are at least three possible solutions to save energy when pumping in waterways. The first is to use better pumps — smart pumps — which are more economical in themselves. The second solution is to make better use of existing pumps. A pump must be controlled and regulated. It is possible to adjust several parameters, such as the pump’s rotation speed, to choose a rotation speed that maximises efficiency. And then the third possibility is not to think just in terms of one or a few pumps but to think on the scale of the entire network of waterways.

For the pump part we use all the results of the experiments carried out in the laboratory to calibrate and adjust digital models of these pumps. We refer to digital twins — a simulation of the pump which is available on computers, and which allows us to carry out tests, test different operating scenarios and run optimisation algorithms to automatically find the most efficient operating method. And it is this threefold strategy, thinking on the scale of the pump, its regulation system and the network of waterways, which enables maximum savings in terms of energy consumption.

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