Validation tests for innovative mooring technology in ports of the future

Published: 10 April 2019

In collaboration with Shoretension, Royal HaskoningDHV, MARIN, Vopak and Shell, Deltares is looking at the possibilities for innovative mooring technology in the ports of the future, where sustainability and economic vitality are vital. These ports will very probably look different from the ones we know today. One of the leading new concepts for the port of the future is the open port.

Scale tests to investigate the benefits of innovative mooring technologies for open ports in the Deltares wave basin.

An open port has less impact on the coastal zone, but the berths are more exposed to waves.  It places more stringent demands on the mooring system that keeps vessels in place during loading and unloading. New innovative mooring systems could provide a solution. In order to determine the limits of these mooring techniques, scale-model tests have been carried out in the Delta Basin, the Deltares 3D wave basin. Innovative mooring systems play a crucial role in the step towards more sustainable ports where the environmental impact is kept to a minimum.

Pushing at the limits

In recent years, ShoreTension has developed innovative mooring technology that keeps the forces in mooring lines low by responding intelligently to the movements of the vessel. This allows the vessel to be kept in place adequately with low line forces, making efficient loading and unloading possible even in more challenging wave conditions. The mooring technique has already been deployed successfully at various locations around the world but not enough is yet known about the characteristics and of this technology or the limits to its application. ‘We want to know how this mooring system will behave in different wave conditions and in interaction with other structures’, says Niek Bruinsma of Deltares, who is managing the tests. ‘It’s also important to determine the maximum wave height for the safe deployment of this technology and therefore its limits. That is something that you should preferably study in controlled conditions in a scale model.’


Results included in computer models to develop sustainable port designs

A range of different layouts and golf conditions are being simulated at a scale of 1:40 in the wave basin. With the results from the different test cases, Deltares is building up a database that will be used by Royal HaskoningDHV to validate their computer models for the mooring system. Engineering firms and contractors can use models of this kind to conduct feasibility studies for new open-port concepts.

This research project was carried out by a consortium consisting of: Deltares, ShoreTension, Royal HaskoningDHV, MARIN, Vopak and Shell. The project is financed by the participating parties and the Water & Maritime Top Sector (TKI Delta Technology). Part of the report is publicly available.