On 15 February, Jan De Nul will start dredging and beach replenishment works in Ostend for the Belgian Public Maritime and Coastal Services Agency (MDK). The trailing suction hopper dredger Alexander von Humboldt will bring some 600,000 cubic metres of dredged sand to the Ostend beach, sailing on sustainable drop-in biofuel.

The dredger Alexander von Humboldt will run on 100 per cent sustainable drop-in biofuel, thus reducing CO2 emissions by ninety per cent. The bulldozers and excavators on the beach are equipped with advanced exhaust gas filter systems that reduce the emission of fine dust and nitrogen by eighty per cent. The site offices for the project management team are equipped with well-insulated materials and a heat pump, which also reduces the energy consumption by eighty per cent.

For this contract, environmental impact was an important award criterion, given MDK’s long-term vision on coastal protection: Flanders must prepare today for the consequences of climate change by strengthening the coasts and at the same time reducing the causes to the maximum extent possible.

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Bart Praet, Head of Dredging Department Benelux at Jan De Nul Group: ‘In 2019, we led the way in our sector by having a fifteen per cent CO2 reduction requirement included in Flemish dredging contracts by 2022. With our tender as well as the execution of this contract, we show that we are ready for the future and can dredge and replenish in a sustainable way. We show other clients that these measures are feasible and affordable. If we want to protect ourselves against rising sea levels in the long term, we must act now. The reduction of emissions simply cannot be optional anymore.’

Floating pipeline

The dredger Alexander von Humboldt will be moored in the port of Ostend and will pump the dredged sand to the beach via a floating pipeline. This will allow a faster completion of the works, as the dredger will be able to work continuously. Because it is working within the sheltered harbour area, the ship does not have to wait for high tide to sail closer to the coast. The execution time can therefore be shortened from six to five weeks.

Every seven hours, the Alexander von Humboldt will supply sand over a distance of 1.5 km, starting at the western harbour dam and moving on towards Thermae Palace.

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Picture: In 2021, Jan De Nul executed identical sustainable beach replenishment works in Raversijde and Knokke.