03 Feb 2016

Developing a computation fluid dynamics model for embankment design for the Port of Hamburg

Based on an extensive set of in-situ measurements (using DHI Sense) that DHI performed in the Port of Hamburg, Germany, we developed an accurate and less conservative computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) to calculate flow velocities on embankments.

Ports all over the world face an increase in ship sizes which challenge the safety of maneuvering processes and port structures such as embankments. For its design, ship-induced waves and propeller jets are important loads. Existing design guidelines provide empirical formulae which result in very conservative solutions which are out-of-the-range for the size of Very Large Containerships (VLC) (PIANC, 2015).

The increase in ship sizes – and thus bank protection sizes – has led to a need for a review of embankment design methods. When devising the new design methods, there is still a need to guarantee safety in the ports and at the same time provide a more economical solution for harbour planners.

A CFD model, based on the Open Source package OpenFOAM®, has been imposed and calibrated using on onsite measurements at the Bubendey embankment, located on the river Elbe in Hamburg. The model proved its validity. The results have been compared to the standard solution derived from the German Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute’s (BAW) design principles for bank and bottom protection for Inland Waterways (2010). The results of the CFD model suggest approximately 30% lower propeller-induced flow velocities on the embankment. Thus, DHI’s CFD model forms an economical tool for embankment design to harbour planners, which is able to produce results within just a few days.

The model was recently applied to determining design parameters for an embankment at berths for feeder size vessels in the Port of Hamburg. It formed the basis for a decision towards a more economic design, involving reduced maintenance costs at the same time.

Velocities on the embankment calculated using CFD tool. © DHI