MSc Thesis Proposal
Hybrid model predictive control of the Maeslant Barrier
Mentors: Rudy Negenborn, Tamas Keviczky, Peter-Jules van Overloop (CiTg), Bart De Schutter
Keywords: Model-based predictive control, water systems, hybrid systems
In low-land areas, people need to protect themselves against high sea water levels. To do so,
on the one hand dunes are maintained at a certain safety level and dikes are built. On the other
hand, closing off a complete coastline is not an option as rivers need to discharge water to the
sea and ships need to be able to navigate inland. For the City of Rotterdam this has resulted in
the construction of the Maeslant Barrier, a unique structure in the world. When the barrier is
open, no obstruction for river flow and ships is present, while, during storm at sea, the barrier
can close off the port and city of Rotterdam completly from influences from the sea.
Fig. 1. Open Maeslant Barrier. Fig. 2. Closed barrier.
In this project we will develop a control system for the storm surge barrier. This control
systems needs to be based on measurements of water levels and predictions of river flows and
sea water levels, especially as closing the barrier requires a procedure that takes up to 8 hours.
Constraints on maximum allowed water levels are present. In addition, the model that needs
to be used is characterized by continuous variables, such as water levels and flows, and
discrete actions, in this case, the moment at which the barrier needs to close. Hence, an
appropriate control methodology therefore seems to be hybrid model predictive control. In
this project this hypothesis will be tested by designing such a controller for the Maeslant
It is expected that the results of this research on hybrid model predictive control applied to
water systems can be extrapolated to other water systems, such as the usage of large pumps
that can only be turned completely on or completely off and the timing of putting inundation
areas into operation during high river flows. All in all, the research will contribute to an
increased safety of low-lying countries, such as The Netherlands.
If you are interested in selecting this project as your MSc project, please stop by at the office
of Rudy Negenborn (8C-3-20), Tamas Keviczky (8C-3-21), or Bart De Schutter (8C-2-11).
See also http://www.dcsc.tudelft.nl/~rnegenborn/ for more information.