Europe’s biggest diving centre also wants to be the most sustainable
On October 28, the TODI diving centre will open on the former be-MINE mining site in Beringen. Its huge size (diameter of 36 m, depth of 10 m and a volume of 6.2 million litres) means that it is the biggest subtropical diving and snorkelling centre in Europe.
TODI tasked ENGIE Electrabel with supplying electricity and heat throughout the project. ENGIE Electrabel enthusiastically helped to come up with a tailor-made solution for the supply of energy.
TODI’s adventure began several years ago when eight friends who had learned to dive together decided to launch a diving project in Belgium so that they would not always have to go abroad to pursue their passion, namely swimming among tropical fish. Their business plan was praised by Bizidee and Entreprize. After careful research, those behind the project decided to build their diving centre on the be-MINE site in Beringen.
Maintaining 6.2 million litres of water at a constant temperature of 23 °C is the perfect challenge for a cogeneration unit
The initial work concluded on July 14, 2016 and the tank was filled. It took no less than 10 days to fill the renovated former settling tank with 6.2 million litres of water. This tank had previously been used to separate the water used to clean the coal from sedimentation sludge.
Once in the tank, the water had to be heated to 23°C. ENGIE Fabricom installed a natural gas-fired cogeneration unit on the site to guarantee this constant temperature and to supply energy to the entire diving centre. The centre is estimated to consume 350 MWh of electricity and 1,750 MWh of gas per year.
Sustainable energy policy
In connection with this project, TODI, together with ENGIE Fabricom and ENGIE Electrabel, opted for a long-term investment in energy policy.
“TODI and its partners chose a modern, energy efficient facility in which they take visitors on an adventure to discover the wonders of the underwater world,” explains Ingrid Geudens, Account Manager Business Accounts at ENGIE Electrabel.
“We needed to use a cogeneration unit to constantly keep 6.2 million litres of water at 23°C, enabling us to achieve maximum comfort while consuming a minimum of energy. However, TODI’s commitment will go even further. The energy consumed by the diving centre is generated by renewable sources, namely the sun, wind and biomass. This new, one-of-a-kind underwater park gives its visitors an opportunity to have fun, explore and relax, knowing that energy is being used in an environmentally friendly way.”
An underwater world housing 2,200 tropical fish
Once the water was hot and clean enough, 2,200 tropical freshwater fish were released into the tank. This is a dream finally come true for the eight friends behind the project: they can dive and snorkel among tropical fish.
LED lighting for greater visibility
To make divers’ experience even more exciting and unforgettable, the tank is divided into eight zones separated by bubble curtains. All of these underwater beauties will also be perfectly visible thanks to an innovative biological filtration system that ensures the water is crystal clear.
The diving tank is also fitted with LED lighting so visitors can dive or snorkel in the evening in good conditions and with good visibility. TODI chose LED lighting because it offers the best of both worlds: low consumption and high light intensity. Furthermore, this type of lighting has a longer service life than traditional lighting.
TODI has committed to an ambitious plan to renovate be-MINE
In the long term, TODI will also offer meeting rooms and event spaces. This all dovetails with the plan to renovate be-MINE, the 32-hectare former mining site in Beringen that is gradually evolving into a leisure and tourism project.
The entire project represents an investment of € 150 million and will create 500 jobs. It should be completed by 2019.