The Coastal & Ocean Basin (COB) in the Flanders Maritime Laboratory in Ostend (Belgium)

New Test Infrastructure Anchors Flemish Maritime Knowledge & Expertise

With a wave pool and a towing tank, the new maritime research centre in Ostend stimulates the work of academic researchers and companies alike. The centre tests scale models of breakwaters, offshore wind turbines, artificial reefs and blue energy installations, but also of ships – and this for both sea and inland navigation.

Read the full article on the website of Cleantech Flanders.

The COB as part of Large Scale Research Infrastructures in Flanders

The COB is part of the international research infrastructures and the "heavy" research infrastructures in which the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation and the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) have invested over the past 10 years. The COB consortium UGent – KU Leuven – Flanders Hydraulics Research is proud of being part of this collection of state-of-the-art research infrastructure in Flanders.

Check the overview of this large scale research infrastructures in Flanders on the website of the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation.


Following the first successful “COB seminar” on October 20th 2017, the consortium UGent – KU Leuven – Flanders Hydraulics Research organised on February 6th 2020 a second seminar focusing on recent innovations in experimental research in a wave tank facility.

The pictures of the event are available on the beeldbank of Ghent University.

The presentations of the speakers can be accessed on the webpage of the 2nd COB Seminar.



About the new Flanders Maritime Laboratory

On February 27th 2017, the construction of a new maritime laboratory has started in Ostend. Ghent University, the Catholic University of Leuven and Flanders Hydraulics Research will use this infrastructure to study the impact of waves, tides and wind on ships and constructions at sea.

Along with the two universities, Flanders invests 28 million euro in the new Flanders Maritime Laboratory that is planned to be operational in 2022.

“The Flemish harbours, that serve as a gateway to Europe and process an important part of the European import and export, are the motor of our economy and welfare. Ensuring their accessibility for ships that are increasing in size, is crucial to our economic position and the preservation of prosperity,” states Minister Ben Weyts. “This new maritime laboratory offers plenty of possibilities for windmill manufacturers, offshore engineering and developers of wave and tidal energy. The research that will be conducted in the laboratory will help to reduce the risks of building at sea and it will allow large and small companies to respond more quickly to market developments.”
Flanders Maritime Laboratory is being built on the Plassendale 1 grounds at Ostend Science Park, in the inner harbour of Ostend. This creates a boost for the Ostend harbour and offers opportunities to other companies to further develop in this sector.

Towing tank and wave basin

Flanders Maritime Laboratory is a 2-in-1 complex that houses a big towing tank and a wave tank.

At Flanders Hydraulics Research in Antwerp, the accessibility of the Flemish sea harbours is being studied by using ship maneuvering simulators. The towing tank at Flanders Hydraulics Research dates from 1992 and was built to test ships up to 200 meters in length. Today, there are ships up to 400 meters in length that pass through our harbours, so the scale models used in these experiments increase as well. The new towing tank is 174 meters long, 20 meters wide and is filled with 1 meter of water. This allows for maneuvering tests with scale models up to 8 meters in length, twice as long as the current installation in Antwerp, making the test results a lot more accurate.
The “Coastal and Ocean wave Basin”, is a large concrete construction filled with water (30 m x 30 m x 1,4 m deep) in which waves, currents and wind can be generated in a controlled manner. Scale models of offshore constructions, constructions for coastal protection, floating wind turbines, wave energy converters,… are placed in this wave basin (or wave tank) and their design and behaviour under the influence of waves, currents and wind is studied. The first experiments are planned to start in 2022. 


Role of the new infrastructure

This new maritime research centre will join the Flemish maritime expertise and strengthen and support the operation of the Belgian ports and shipping.

Most importantly, these facilities will strengthen the international research position of Flanders in the field of coastal engineering and offshore engineering. Moreover, the infrastructure provides the opportunity for companies and governmental institutions and agencies to develop innovative designs for coastal protection and offshore energy. This new infrastructure will therefore be an important tool for the academic partners (Ghent University and the University of Leuven), for the Flemish Government (the Flanders Hydraulics Research) as well as for the Flemish industry players who are active in the wider "blue growth" sector, the sector of marine-related activities.


Gen4Wave and wave tank strengthen position of Flanders in coastal engineering and offshore renewable energy

The Flemish government decided on the initiative of Minister Ingrid Lieten to invest 5M euros in the Gen4Wave project. The Board of Directors of the Hercules Foundation approved the proposal by UGent and KU Leuven for research infrastructure coupled to Gen4Wave for an amount of 2.3M euros. Gen4Wave is the start of an investment project, including the construction and start-up of a wave tank, featuring waves, currents and wind loads, as large scale test infrastructure for coastal engineering and offshore renewable energy in Flanders


Prof. Peter Troch (wave basin)
Vakgroep Civiele Techniek
T 09 264 54 94



With financial support by the following partners:

FWO_logo.jpg  AIO_logo.jpg  MOW_logo.jpg


In cooperation with the following academic partners:

UGent_logo.jpg  KULeuven_logo.jpg  WL_logo.jpg