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Slowmill assembly site at Kooyhaven in Den Helder

Bijgewerkt op: 15 nov. 2023

Text by Peter Scheijgrond, Bluespring

Photos by Sia Windig, Bluespring

The second stop of our site visit tour as part of Ocean Energy Europe 2023 led us to Slow Mill in the Kooijhaven, part of Port of Den Helder. The Slow Mill Wave Energy Convertor is the brainchild of the late Erwin Croughs. The full-scale demonstrator, which was deployed off the Island of Texel, is now lying on the quayside awaiting redeployment. This offered visitors a unique chance for an up-close inspection of the impressive steel floater, measuring 20m by 2.5m round, and the power take-off. We could also admire the installation vessel. For a detailed description of the system, check out their website here.

Rechts: Erwin Meijboom. Fotografie: Sia Windig (Bluespring)

Erwin Meijboom

Erwin Meijboom, co-founder of Slow Mill welcomed us in drizzle weather, so typical for the North of Holland. Following a brief explanation using a scale model, it was time for hands-on exploration! Visitors were allowed to climb the ladder and peer through the hatch inside the floater, to see the intricate electrical and hydraulic systems. Maneuvering behind the work container, we hopped aboard an aluminum vessel, that was designed specially by Slow Mill for swift access, inspection, and installation. This versatile vessel also doubles as a testing platform, absorbing the wave energy and storing it in two molten salt tanks on board.

Slow Mill

Following an initial trial installation in open waters, Slow Mill is gearing up for a redeployment at a suitable North Sea location for extended testing. Erwin has courageously taken on the challenge of advancing the development, following in the footsteps of his late colleague Erwin Croughs. It's a significant stride, and we wish him all the best in the next steps of securing financing, building out his team, and re-deploying the Slow Mill.

Den Helder

The Kooyhaven harbour is part of the Port of Den Helder and so we were also welcomed by Katja Naber, who is the commercial manager of PoDH. She treated us to a lovely takeaway lunch on the bus and highlighted PoDH's ambitions to become the offshore energy hub on the North Sea, hosting the logistic supply chain, and providing service to both the offshore wind farms and oil and gas operations. Katja also explained the plans to develop a green hydrogen filling station at the Kooyhaven harbour.

Attractive coastal communities

The energy transition is taking place at sea and we will need all solutions to generate enough energy for direct consumption (electricity) and to produce large quantities of green hydrogen in the future to meet demand. Wave energy can contribute to a higher baseload power from offshore energy parks and improved load balancing. In the immediate future, wave energy solutions can play a pivotal role in providing sustainable energy to island communities, fostering attractive coastal communities. The route to market for wave energy solutions is a key focus of the recently launched Offshore For Sure project, funded under the Interreg Flanders/Netherlands programme, in which Dutch Wave Power demonstrates a wave energy solution.

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