Discover the Potential of Low-Head Pumped Hydro Energy Storage: Exploring the Future of Renewable Energy Storage in the Seas


The ALPHEUS project has been running for 21 months, and its multidisciplinary research team has made progress in the use of low-head pumped hydro energy storage (LH PHES) plants for storing large-scale electricity in the North Sea. Areas of research have included:

  • Variable low-head pump-turbine designs
  • Power take off (PTO) powertrain architecture
  • Civil structure design
  • Grid integration
  • Sustainable implementation of the LH PHES plants

Implementation of large civil structures can face opposition from the public, which in turn, can lead to delays, budget overruns and/or mistrust towards later projects. To address this, ALPHEUS conducted a stakeholder analysis to understand the public’s concerns regarding LH PHES technology. A questionnaire was already distributed and completed to allow stakeholders to provide their views on the technology.

The ALPHEUS project is organizing its first online forum to further incorporate stakeholder opinions, this time focusing on more technical aspects of the innovative LH PHES technology. Participants will be able to view a demonstration of the current research advances and a video showcasing the physical facilities used for model validation. After the demonstration, a panel discussion will take place, followed by an interactive session where the audience can provide feedback and suggestions that could shape research on the LH PHES, as well as discover potential business cases.

Work Packages and Topic Description

WP2 – Reversible Pump-Turbine and Test Setup Design

The objectives are the application of laboratory and numerical methods to develop propeller type and positive displacement runners and casings that operate efficiently in both pump and turbine modes, allow for rapid mode switching (pump/turbine modes) with low fatigue loading, and result in minimal fish mortality.

WP3 – Power Take-Off Design

A power take-off (PTO) powertrain architecture with multidimensional machine-side control will be developed to maximize efficiency and minimize mode switching time of the turbine.

WP4 – Power Take-Off and Reversible Pump-Turbine Integration

The aim of this work package is to provide measurement results from laboratory experiments of the complete model scale machine set (turbine and PTO). The measurement results will be used for validation of the machine performance/mode switching models (WP2 and WP3), validation of structural models (WP5) and for the assessment of fish behaviour.

WP5 – Civil Engineering Design

For the site identification of potential low-head pumped storages along the coasts of the North and Baltic Seas different objectives are included in the workpage.

WP6 – Grid Integration

The first objective of WP6 is to design the grid-side control and to equip it with functions for EU standard-compliant operation. Based on this, a simulation model can be developed which can be used for grid studies.

The second objective of WP6 is to test the capacity of the storage power plant for various flexibility options for the grid. In addition to the technical possibilities, economic evaluations are also carried out.

Meeting Goals

  • Disseminate ALPHEUS advances
  • Focus on stakeholder engagement
    • Techno-economic feasibility of the project
      Challenges of low-head PHS development (civil works, turbine, grid integration, policy…)
    • Scalability of the technology
      Is upscaling possible with available manufacture technology?
    • Needs for research and innovation
      Stakeholders have the opportunity to highlight research topics in the field of LH PHS

Meeting Agenda

14:00 – ALPHEUS introduction and presentation of current work
14:00: Welcome to the meeting
14:05: ALPHEUS introduction + context (energy crisis)
14:15: Showcase of a video about current research installations

14:25 – Panel Discussion
Participants: Stuart Reigeluth (Moderator, REVOLVE media), Jeremy Bricker (Scientific Coordinator ALPHEUS), Bettina Geisseler (Geisseler Law), Peter Hoffmann (TenneT Germany), EDF representative to be confirmed

15:00: Questions and/or suggestions from the audience

15:25: Meeting wrap-up

Panel Participants

Bettina Geisseler

Bettina Geisseler is a lawyer and founder of GEISSELER LAW, a law firm specialised in contract law regarding the construction and erection of major infrastructure projects, such as (hydro and other ) power plants, dams or tunnels worldwide. She is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Société Hydrotechnique de France (SHF) and a member of the ITA (International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association) Working Group on an Underground Infrastructure Sustainability Indexing tool.

Jeremy Bricker

Jeremy Bricker is an Associate Professor of Civil/Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University of Technology and at the University of Michigan, and a licensed Professional Engineer in California and Washington. His experience encompasses design and failure analysis of coastal and hydraulic structures subject to tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods. As scientific coordinator of ALPHEUS, he works to tie together the multiple disciplines involved in the project.


Peter Hoffmann is already working for more than 30 years in the energy business in arious positions. Currentl,y he is Director for Energy System Planning at TenneT, one of the leading TSOs in Europe. His long lasting experience is particularly in System Operations, the customer of ancillary services offered by a hydraulic plant as developed by the ALPHEUS project. Furthermore, he is involved in the development of the NorthSeaWindPowerHub, analysing artificial islands as basis for sector coupling purposes offshore.

Stuart Reigeluth

Stuart Reigeluth is founder of REVOLVE (2010) – a communication group fostering cultures of sustainability. He is co-initiator of the AMWAJ Alliance for valuing water ecosystems around the Mediterranean and he is a co-founder of the global Cities4Forests network. He has a MBA from Solvay-Ponts (2015) and a MA from CAMES at the American University of Beirut (2005).

Would you like to participate?

If you would like to participate in the event, please register using this link below:
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For any questions related to the event, please contact Ruben Ansorena at