Delta Flume is the world's largest wave generator

October 8, 2015 | Surfing
Delta Flume: the world's largest wave generator | Photo: Deltares

Deltares, an independent Dutch research institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface, has unveiled the world's largest wave generator. It will simulate the power of the sea for both engineered and power defenses in Delft, Netherlands.

The Delta Flume is a full-scale test facility for hydraulic structures that is capable of testing the effect of extreme waves and tides on breakwaters, dunes, or dikes. The concrete and metal channel 300 meters long (984 feet), 9.5 meters deep (31 feet) and 5 meters wide (16 feet).

The flume generates waves of up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) and simulates the behavior of swells in their natural environment. The water reservoir contains 9 million liters of fresh water. Three stations can pump 1000 liters a second.

"Major sums are invested annually to reduce the risks associated with life in deltas. Those investments can sometimes be excessively high, or in the wrong locations," explains Maarten Smits, the managing director of Deltares.

"It would be fantastic to have a better idea in advance of the usefulness, necessity and effect of our investments. If we can manage to reduce them by even 10 percent, that is an enormous saving!"

The high-precision construction of the Delta Flume took three years. It is already producing the highest artificial waves in the world. Will the technology ever be exported into the surfing world?

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