An important milestone in the pump installations and hydropower plant construction project in Hasselt will be reached with the work planned for Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 May. ENGIE Fabricom and Hye will be installing the three largest Archimedes’ screws in the world. Together, these can generate 1,200 kW.
The Flemish Waterways company decided to build hydropower and pumping installations at the six lock complexes on the Albert Canal (Wijnegem, Olen, Ham, Hasselt, Diepenbeek and Genk), so that inland shipping could continue to use this waterway in dry periods. The pump installations reduce water losses when the locks are used by pumping the water at the bottom of the lock back upwards. When water levels are high, the difference in height of 10 metres means the installation can generate green electricity from hydropower.
Largest Archimedes’ screw in the world
The installation in Hasselt is the third one to be finished, following Ham in 2011 and Olen in 2013. ENGIE Fabricom is responsible for the installation’s electromechanical and technical equipment, including the delivery and installation of the three Archimedes’ screws (auger pumps). This helical surface of the screw prevents water from running back down when the screw is turned, so when the screw is inclined and rotated water can be transported upwards. With diameters of 5 m and a length of 22 m, the Archimedes’ screws being installed in Hasselt are among the largest of their type in the world, and can transport 5 m³/second.
The system also uses eco-friendly technology. The large water chambers and the slower rotational speed of this type of screw minimises damages to fish stocks.
This project perfectly reflects ENGIE Fabricom’s ambition to provide solutions for a world in transition. On the one hand, it promotes mobility by helping inland shipping, and on the other hand, it promotes renewable energy, by generating green electricity.