The port expansion – an engineering challenge
Our history with Hanstholm goes back several decades. When Hanstholm Harbour was first being built on the northwest coast of Denmark, its construction was seen as infeasible. But two of our founders – Professor Helge Lundgren and Director Torben Sørensen – re-examined the technical aspects of the project. Based on their findings, a new report concluded that the project was sound, allowing for the construction of Hanstholm Harbour.
Nearly 50 years later, we helped with the planning of a major expansion of the Port of Hanstholm, now a major Danish fishing and commercial port. To cope with growing demand, plans were recently drawn up to increase the size of the port area.
Taking future navigation conditions into account, this expansion would include:
- Expanding the harbour to make it over three times larger than the existing one
- Increasing the water depth at the entrance and approach to the harbour to 12.5m, an increase of 3-4m
- Constructing a new port entrance northeast of the present one
- Building more than 2km of new breakwaters at a water depth of up to 14m
Overcoming the waves of the North Sea
The location of the port provides little protection from the winds and strong waves of the North Sea. This means that more than 2km of new breakwater structures would be exposed. In order to carry out the port expansion economically and safely, it was necessary to ensure optimal breakwater designs and port layout.
We conducted comprehensive numerical modelling to achieve accurate design wave conditions, as well as to study the wave conditions inside the new port. In parallel, we conducted physical model tests to optimise the breakwater design.
The sand transport challenge
A large harbour expansion like this also raises a number of questions related to the sand transport:
- What are the future conditions for bypass of sand past the harbour?
- How much dredging will be necessary to maintain the 12.5 m navigation depth?
- What are the conditions for deposition of sand along the new main northern breakwater west of the entrance?
- What is the impact on the surrounding coastlines if the conditions for bypass change?
We addressed these sedimentation challenges in a separate study.