Dutch off-grid fortress island now future proof with new sustainable energy system

On May 29, Dutch Minister of Climate and Energy Rob Jetten opened the brand new, sustainable energy system of Forteiland Pampus, a former defence fortress near Amsterdam. By deploying wind, solar, hydrogen, biofermentation, thermal energy and energy storage, the island can meet its own energy needs year-round.

Since its inception, the artificial island has been off-grid, not connected to shore for power, water or gas. This historical fact inspired the climate-neutral, new energy system consisting of power generation through wind, solar and bio-digestion, and a combination of green hydrogen, lithium batteries, thermal storage and heat pumps to provide energy storage. The Dutch company Rengineers supplied 2 BestWatt BW10 wind turbines, the solar energy system and an advanced energy storage system.

With this innovative combination of proven techniques, the island now provides its own energy all year round and is an inspiration for decentralized energy supply.

Back in time: defense of freedom

The iconic fortress island has always been ahead of its time. As the keystone of the Defense Line of Amsterdam, Pampus was a state-of-the-art defensive structure in 1895. On the island, two hundred soldiers had to be able to survive for three months in times of war without outside influences. Electricity was generated by a steam engine, rainwater was purified and food was “preserved”: canned, pickled and preserved.

Decay and preservation

State of the art in 1895, but completely outdated when the chips were down. The Defense Line of Amsterdam was not designed for the arrival of the airplane and so little remained of Pampus other than a ruin and an idea. A ruin full of possibilities, though. In the 1950s through the 1980s, Pampus was a grateful backdrop for parties, demonstrations and actions. Until in the late 1980s this anarchy ended and the island was saved from further decay and ruin. A group of pioneers, through a foundation, bought Pampus from the state. Main goal: preservation of island and fortress for future generations.

Defending the future

Arriving in the 21st century, Pampus, like the rest of the world, faces a major climate task. After years of research and renovations – the island is now not only a historical icon, but also the icon for a climate-neutral, fossil-free and circular future. By showing how energy, water, raw materials and transportation can be handled on the island now, and in the near future on other (hard to reach) locations, Pampus is making an impact. And so Pampus anno 2024 is a historical icon with a hyperactual message. Source: Forteiland Pampus

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