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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Geographical Areas

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Bridge Dam of Monsin, Liège
Biology, Physics
The Bridge Dam of Monsin is located downstream from Liège along the E25/A25 highway, exit 6 in Jupille. It is accessible in the two directions of the highway, coming from Liège or from the Herstal interchange.
The Bridge Dam of Monsin is located on the Meuse, river born in France and flowing into the North Sea in the Netherlands, near the city of Rotterdam, after crossing Belgium and having joined the Rhine and formed with it a large delta. The Bridge dam of Monsin, designed by the architect Joseph Moutschen, was inaugurated for the 1930 international fair about water. It replaced several locks located in the city of Liège and regulated and stabilised the flow of the Meuse. Upstream and downstream, the water level varies by about six metres. Over the dam is a road between Jupille and the port of Liège.
The river Meuse is inhabited by many species of fish such as carps, roaches, ides, tenches and pikes. An estimated 50 to 100 kg of fish per hectare lives in the Meuse. Moreover, salmons and sea trout, which are migrating fish, swim back up the Meuse and its tributaries to mate. The Atlantic salmon had disappeared from the Meuse since the years 1930 due to human activity, mostly dams. For the last thirty years, a reintroduction program associated with devices such as fish ladders have helped this fish return. The dam of Monsin is flanked with such ladder. Baffle fishways are made up of a series of pools working like a staircase. The pools are on different heights (depending on the swimming abilities of the targeted fish).
A hydroelectric plant flanks the Bridge Dam of Monsin in order to produce electricity. This plant is exploited by the company EDF-Luminus. Its capacity is 18 MW. It was the first hydroelectric unit opened in 1954. It has 3 Kaplan turbines with a vertical axe, over 8 metres of diameters with steering blades. Annually, and depending on the stream, it produces power for 14,000 families.


Production of renewable energy in Belgium In resource management, considering fossil resources are not inexhaustible, alternatives must be found with the help of renewable energies. This graph shows the production of electricity by renewable energies in Belgium. We can see that the production of electricity by renewable energies is increasing in order to meet the problems linked to energy resources and the related environment problems. Indeed, the use of renewable resources instead of fossil resources decreases of greenhouse gas emissions. This graph also lets us identify the production of hydroelectricity among the electricity production by other renewable energies. Incidentally, hydroelectricity is produced by bridge-dams like that of Monsin, our area of interest.
Location of hydroelectric plants in Belgium The area of interest is the bridge-dam of Monsin, but it is not the only site of electricity production based on hydraulic energy in Belgium. This graph shows that Belgium has developed bridge-dams along its waterways. These bridge-dams are mostly located in Wallonia along the Meuse. They make it possible to use the motive power of water to create electricity. In energy resource management, the assets of every site must be used. Using the motive power of waterways is thus crucial to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels.
Bicycle generator Studying the production of hydraulic electricity, we can analyse the different components of a bicycle generator. In this case, the rotation movement is not created by water but by the bicycle wheel. It is made of a tensioner (in contact with the wheel), a protection shell, a magnet and its rotation axis, and a coil. The coil forms the stator, which is the immobile part inside the generator, while the magnet that is put in rotation forms the rotor. The wires in the coil are directly linked to the bicycle lightbulbs. Thus the rotation movement of the wheel prompts the rotation of the tensioner and of the magnet, which produce enough electricity to light the bulb.
Dynamo torch Studying the production of hydraulic electricity, we can analyse the different components of a dynamo torch. We notice that it is made of several coils and a circular magnet. The magnet is attached to the axis that is put in rotation when turning the handle of the light. It is the rotor. This magnet turns around the coils, which are immobile and form the stator. The coils are placed in a radial position around the rotation axis. The wires in the coil are linked to a battery that stores electric energy as chemical energy. The light is made of a second electric circuit that links the battery, the switch and the led bulb. The latter lights up when the switch is activated.
Generator built by students In the case of the bridge-dam, the flowing water puts the turbines in rotation, which provokes the rotation of the generator that produces electricity. Students created “home-made “generators using copper wires, somehow powerful magnets and a rotation system that had to invent. To check power is produced, a led bulb is attached to the terminals of the coil. In the example on the picture, the magnet is put in rotation, not by water, but by the wind. Blowing strongly and for a long time on the propeller, you can see the bulb light up for a brief moment.



The video shows how hydraulic energy used to be used in water mills to convert the motive power of water into mechanical energy to grind grains. Currently, most mills are no longer used. However, the video shows two examples of projects to restore old mills to produce electricity. Environment problems and the increasing cost of energy are two motivations for alternative projects such as producing hydraulic electricity using mills. However, maintenance costs and investment remain high.

Hydraulic plant with a low fall

The video produced by EDF explains and lets us see how hydraulic plants with a low fall work. These hydraulic plants are located on rivers with a weak slope and a high flow, like the bridge-dam of Monsin. The video features the several elements that that constitute a hydraulic plant: the bypass dam, the station made of a distributor, a turbine, a generator and a transformer connected to the electric network. The video also show how the turbine is moved by water and connected to the generator.

Generator simulator

The generator simulator is an applet proposed by Boulder University (Colorado). The simulator lets you vary several parameters in the generator and view the effects of these changes. You can vary the number of coils, their area, the intensity of the rotating magnet and the water flow that produces the rotation (and thus the magnet rotation speed). You can then notice all those factors have a role in the intensity of the electric current that is produced, either thanks to a bulb with varying light, or thanks to an ammeter. The simulation also gives the possibility to view the variation of the magnetic field produced by the rotating magnet thanks to a compass needle or teslameter, as well as the movement of electrons in the wire. Video: