Activity Report 2016

Dredging Solutions
Dredging Plus Solutions
DEME Fleet


DEME has always been at the forefront of innovation, contributing to sustainable growth and creating new opportunities to expand DEME’s global reach.
Research & Development is undertaken in a multidisciplinary way, involving close cooperation between sites, vessels and the headquarters but also between calculation desks, project management teams, technical and engineering departments.


The innovation process follows a methodical, systematic and structured approach, leading to groundbreaking innovations and developments.

Employee driven innovation

To spark and capture groundbreaking ideas from employees across DEME, several innovation initiatives have been launched. The “DEMEX” initiative focuses on disruptive innovation, tapping into young talents at DEME to identify bold business opportunities for DEME.

The DEME Innovation Diver engages all employees worldwide to capture creative ideas with regards to several challenges. In early 2017 the second edition of the DEME Innovation Diver campaign was launched, with employees joining forces and collaborating through an online innovation platform.

DEME’s multidisciplinary approach and employee-led innovation resulted in some game-changing ideas.

Modular jacket gas platform design

EverSea developed a standard platform design that is suitable for any gas field in the Dutch North Sea. The design is modular, meaning that only small, less expensive vessels are required for installation of the platform. Furthermore, smart coupling makes it reusable at the next gas field.

Damped pile gripper

An enormous pile gripper was developed to drive the foundations of a wind turbine into the seabed, together with a hydraulic heat compensation system. The benefits are clear: less hindrance from the weather, quicker to implement and cheaper.

Laser-cladded cutterhead teeth

Cutter suction dredgers (CSD) use cutterheads fitted with teeth to cut soil and rocks loose. However, the lifespan of these teeth is limited and the dredging process has to stop each time they are replaced. Using laser cladding the teeth are given a carbide layer. Result: the lifespan of the teeth is lengthened considerably.

Temarock - a specialised and fully automated multipurpose underwater 3D-printer of rock foundations

A quay wall, built of caissons at Tuas Terminal Phase 1 in Singapore, has a foundation consisting of two layers of compacted hardcore. For these to be applied in accordance with the customer’s exact specifications three equipment spreads are required. Using the Temarock, DEME has developed a fully automated multipurpose 3D-printer that can do everything much more efficiently, achieve extreme tolerances and facilitate diverless execution.

TE-Norm remediation application of soil washing techniques

TE-Norm stands for Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. This project studies the technical and economic feasibility of the treatment of soil and sediment that is lightly to moderately contaminated with radioactive material. Using adapted soil washing techniques the decontaminated material, which can often be reused, is sorted out and treated separately.


A strategy was developed at the Jurong Island Westward Extension project in Singapore, which focuses on teamwork and productivity. This involved creating a tool, ME2WE, which helps to increase involvement, improve internal relationships, create improvement channels and increase productivity.

Visual Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) app

The LOTO app, designed aboard DEME’s CSD ‘Ambiorix’, is a visual application for the management of the Lock Out Tag Out process. The app helps the crew in indicating the necessary LOTO points, locations and locks, and at just the click of a mouse. This app helps to make repairs and maintenance safer and more efficient and reduces the risk of human error.

Deep sea harvesting of seabed minerals and metals

Addressing the problems of climate change and dwindling fossil fuel resources, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published its Energy Report in 2015 stating that the world could get all the energy it needs from renewable sources by 2050.

However, decreasing the world’s dependence on fossil fuel increases our dependence on minerals and rather significantly so, as renewable energy infrastructure requires at least double the amount of minerals for the same amount of energy production. Furthermore, the world population is growing faster than at any time in history and the demand for mineral consumption is climbing rapidly as the global standard of living increases.

Tracked soil testing device ‘Patania’

DEME’s marine harvesting specialist GSR

DEME’s marine harvesting specialist Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), in collaboration with all stakeholders, is looking at ways in which seabed minerals can contribute to the sustainable development of our world.


On 14 January 2013, the International Seabed Authority and GSR signed a 15-year contract for the prospecting and exploration of polymetallic nodules. Under the contract, GSR has exclusive rights for the exploration of 76,728 km2 of seabed in the eastern part of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Central Pacific Ocean.


Following the award, GSR has successfully completed the first phases of this truly groundbreaking project. Two surveying expeditions have taken place. In the second expedition a high-resolution geophysical survey of the seabed was executed and samples were collected to study the biological and geological conditions of the deep sea environment.


The main aim of this second expedition was to retrieve soil parameters for the design of a collector vehicle, to locate and quantify nodules in three areas, and to develop an environmental baseline study. The project team expects that around 3 million tonnes of polymetallic nodules could be harvested annually.

François Charlet

“Within GSR, we are developing deep sea mining using state-of-the-art, break-through technologies, able to explore and harvest polymetallic nodules in a sustainable and profitable way. During our first two offshore expeditions in 2014 and 2015, we were able to collect geological, biological and geotechnical information, leading to the development of a remotely operated vehicle called ‘Patania’ in 2016.”
For 150 years, the world has known about this huge potential seabed resource but it is only now that the dream is turning into reality.




In 2016, work began on the next exciting stage of this pioneering, deep sea harvesting project. During the year the project team has successfully developed the tracked soil testing device (TSTD) ‘Patania’ along with several Flemish specialist companies. The TSTD ‘Patania’ will be tested on the Pacific’s seabed in May 2017, when the GSR team will be accompanied by geologists, scientists and geotechnical engineers. When successful, a pre-prototype will be tested during the fourth expedition, which will then take place in early 2019 to thoroughly test the technology.GSR intends to develop the world’s first tracked nodule collector eventually in 2019, which is based on 100% DEME technology. This unique collector vehicle will be capable of harvesting nodules at staggering depths of 4,500 m right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 1,300 km from land.


Crucially, the expeditions will also be taking baseline measurements of the deep sea environment so GSR can measure the impact of the harvesting vehicle. Three large mooring buoys will be placed on the seabed to monitor changes in turbidity for at least a year. DEME is highly aware that any activity has to be both commercially viable and sustainable. In addition to improving deep sea harvesting expertise, the company strongly believes that this project and its expeditions will be an important addition to the world’s scientific knowledge.


76,728 km²

Field testing of the TSTD ‘Patania’

GSR also takes part in the projects:


DEME is one of the leading industrial partners in the European Blue Mining project. The overall objective is to provide breakthrough solutions for a sustainable, deep sea harvesting value chain. The project aims to develop the technical capabilities for accurate and cost-effective discovery, assessment and extraction of deep sea mineral deposits from water depths up to 6,000 m.


DEME is one of the partners in the Managing Impacts of Deep Sea Resource Exploitation (MIDAS) project. The MIDAS project brings together a broad-ranging group of experts from several disciplines to investigate the potential environmental impacts of deep sea resource extraction and to make recommendations on how best to manage them.


The European Commission is helping to accelerate innovations that ensure secure and sustainable supplies of raw materials by funding a 4-year project: Breakthrough Solutions for the Sustainable Harvesting and Processing of Deep Sea Polymetallic Nodules – Blue Nodules. Blue Nodules will develop the seafloor and surface processes and equipment for deep sea harvesting of polymetallic nodules. Including the DEME subsidiaries Dredging International (DI) and GSR, the Blue Nodules project will be carried out by a consortium of 14 leading European industry and research organisations.


In 2015, the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) organised a pilot project Ecological Aspects of Deep sea Mining to assess the ecological impacts which could arise from commercial mining activities. Three expeditions visited several nodule licence areas and a protected area in the Clarion Clipperton Zone, and examined the disturbance and recolonisation experiment (DISCOL) in the Peru Basin, which was conducted 26 years ago.

MeyGen - the flagship project of blue energy

DEME’s focus to be at the forefront of blue energy is highlighted by its involvement in the groundbreaking MeyGen tidal energy project at Pentland Firth in Scotland. This project will be the world’s first tidal stream turbine array connected to the electricity grid.


DEME is keen to be a pioneer in this sustainable technology and in April 2016, DEME Concessions acquired an interest in Tidal Power Scotland Limited (TPSL), which controls the MeyGen project. Furthermore, DEME’s subsidiary GeoSea was awarded the installation contract for Phase 1A of MeyGen and deployed the jack-up vessel ‘Neptune’ for this challenging project.


The first phase consisted of the successful installation of four gravity-based foundations and it got underway in September 2016, with the foundations and ballast blocks loaded at the ports of Nigg and Scrabster, Scotland. The first turbine was energised and started producing power in November 2016.


During December, two further turbines were installed and the remaining turbine was installed in February 2017. MeyGen 1A represents a capacity of 6MW, encompassing one 1.5MW Atlantis turbine and three 1.5MW Andritz Hammerfest turbines.




World leading expertise

GeoSea is proud to be involved in this new and challenging industry and the world’s first tidal array project, particularly as it is such a key milestone for the industry. GeoSea has conducted progressive research and development into the use of heavy lift jack-up vessels at tidal sites. This included successful sea trials in September 2015 at the Raz Blanchard site, France – considered one of the most energetic tidal sites in the world. GeoSea is passionate about applying its world leading expertise to this exciting, trailblazing project.


GeoSea is now preparing the second 6MW phase of the MeyGen project, which will be executed in 2018.


Besides the participation in TPSL, DEME is involved in two other tidal energy developments – the West Islay Tidal Energy Park in Scotland (30MW) and Fair Head in Northern Ireland (100MW). These projects are currently being developed in cooperation with local partners.

Mark Wardle



“I’m confident ocean energy has the potential of playing a key role in Europe’s energy mix and with our early involvement we are ensuring DEME is at the forefront, driving this emerging industry.


The coming years are going to be an exciting time and I am glad I can be part of it”.