The application of a continuous nourishment on wave and tide-dominated systems

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The Sandwindmill system could decarbonize the Dutch coastal protection whilst harmonizing with the building with nature approach. The system consists of a pipeline connecting an offshore borrow location to a nearshore area, where the mined sediment is discharged. The equipment is powered by wind turbines. As long as the wind blows sufficiently, sediment is pumped through the system, leading to a near-continuous nourishment. After the sediment has left the pipes, natural forces should distribute the material. Despite the considerable environmental benefit, one substantial challenge is the financial competitiveness with the traditional hoppers. This research aims to provide insights that can enable the system to be also financially competitive to the hoppers. In the first part, an integral analysis of the Sandwindmill is carried out. The second part of this thesis focuses on the optimization of the dispersion of the nourished sediment.

In the first part, all sub-systems of the Sandwindmill concept are treated separately. Wind data, theoretical formulations, and an exploration of the mining options are used to identify optimization opportunities. From the assessment, it becomes apparent that the interdependency of these sub-systems complicates the cost-optimization. Hence, a competitive system design requires an accurate harmonization of these sub-systems. Three main conclusions are drawn. First of all, the costs per cubic meter decrease with an increasing nourishment volume. Finding the marginal costs is essential in determining the feasibility of the system for certain volumes. Secondly, it is concluded that - given an annual nourishment volume - the pump capacity and windmill size should be attuned. Their cost-optimum is found at a set-up that leads to a yearly operational time of approximately 70%. Lastly, the analysis shows that the application of batteries to support the system in case of lower wind velocities can contribute to a more economical system. This is mainly the case if the system has wave-induced limited operational times.

Due to the costs of the displacement of the pipe outlet and the financial benefits of nourishing large volumes, the second part of the research aims at generating guidelines to designing a dispersive nourishment. Both wave- and tide-dominated systems are a potential field of application for the Sandwindmill. North-Holland is selected as an appropriate case study, containing the Marsdiep tidal inlet and a wave-dominated closed coastal section. A process-based coastal area model is set up to determine the sensitivity of different nourishment strategies on the dispersion at a one-year timescale. A tidal channel wall nourishment at the Marsdiep and a shoreface nourishment at Callantsoog are assessed.

One of the key findings of the second part is that the strong tidal velocities at the Marsdiep inlet are more capable of transporting the nourishment than the conditions at the wave-dominated coast. After one year, the distance travelled by a significant part of the nourished sediment is a factor four higher for the Marsdiep nourishment. Secondly, the research shows that the grain size plays a vital role in the local and regional dispersion. Therefore, the borrowed grain size should be part of the system design. Under the evaluated scenarios, the nourishment application under forcing conditions with a higher transporting potential has a smaller effect in the longer term. This implies that the optimal operational time could be determined solely based on the cost-optimization and should hence be around 70%.