New Large Wave Flume GWK+

© grbv

From GWK to GWK+

In recent years, the demands on coastal protection as well as advances in marine technology and above all in the generation of renewable energies on and from the sea have steadily increased and it is expected that this trend will continue to intensify in the future. In order to further advance research and development in these areas, the BMWi is financing the marTech project (maritime technologies) with 35 million euros. As part of this project, GWK will be turned into a unique test facility with which the natural environmental conditions at sea can be simulated on a large scale in the laboratory in the best possible way. All major effects of waves and (tidal) currents are simulated and the natural seabed conditions are mapped. This ensures optimal scientific processing, e.g. of the following topics:

  • Hydrodynamic loading of the load-bearing structures of OWT
  • Scour formation and scour protection measures
  • Soil-structure interactions
  • Stability and anchorage systems of floating structures
  • Performance optimization of wave and tidal current systems


In order to achieve these goals, GWK is being expanded into a test facility for offshore and coastal engineering research that is unique in the world:

  • With a new, more powerful wave machine, larger waves and loads can be generated, which will enable even more realistic testing and further development of structures under extreme conditions
  • With a current generation system, e.g. tidal currents can be generated in order to investigate their impact on sediment stability and structures, as well as to consider and analyze nonlinear wave-current interactions
  • A deep section in the middle of the canal enables sediment to be installed at ground level. Structures can be bedded realistically, deep foundations can be examined with their degradation effects and non-linear structure-soil interactions can be recorded

The construction works for this upgrade started at the end of 2020 and in Spring 2023 the new GWK+ is to go back into operation with 3 pilot projects.