Personal profile

Research profile

Dr. Alex Kirichek is an assistant professor conducting multidisciplinary research in the Section of Rivers and Ports in the Departement of Hydraulic Engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at TU Delft. His research focuses on the interaction between soil science, microbiology, geophysics, hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics, and data science to develop new tools, knowledge and interventions for port and waterways processes such as accessibilitymaintenance dredging, and navigation.

Alex is one of the founders of the MUDNET network that is meant to bridge the academic and industrial worlds by initiating discussions, identifying knowledge gaps and generating new applied knowledge for the benefit of academic and scientific progress, society, government and the corporate world from the EU. 

The list of selected projects where Alex acts as PI is as follows:

PAving THe way towards Zero-Emission and RObust inland shipping (PATH2ZERO): The goal of this NWO/NWA-funded project is to develop a digital twin for the inland shipping system, that can be used for assessing the efficiency of zero-emission strategies. This digital representation represents the real system with all relevant components of inland shipping and focuses on three main aspects: the individual vessels, the logistic chains and the infrastructure. Potential interventions are considered ranging from the application of new technologies for individual vessels to policy measures for an entire shipping corridor. Future scenarios can be imposed on the digital twin and their efficiency can be evaluated for the right path towards zero emission shipping.

Sustainable, smart and circular strategies for port accessibility. The main objective of this research is to develop a general methodology for evaluating the trade-offs of port accessibility and maintenance in order to facilitate the associated decision-making processes in ports worldwide. To promote worldwide applicability this project links port logistic concepts, on the one hand, with maintenance logistic strategies that are rooted in scientific knowledge of hydro- and sediment dynamics, on the other hand. By linking these two in an integral decision framework port managers should be able to make better informed decisions on port maintenance, balancing aspects like capacity and efficiency, as well as sustainability, and safety.

Equilibrium-based maintenance dredging. The objective of this research is to develop strategies for equilibrium-based maintenance dredging in the Port of Emden, Germany. In-situ analysis of key sediment characteristics is conducted to optimize the maintenance efficiency and to relate the effect of the maintenance to the short-term and long-term changes in the system. This research collects the evidence to what extent current strategies comply with circularity principles. The developed framework will be serving as a decision-making tool facilitating the analysis of the sediment maintenance strategy and required maintenance depth. 

Defining nautical depth for sailing through mud. The project provides new insights into the application of the nautical bottom concept for sailing through mud. Key fundamental processes of sediment dynamics have been adapted to develop new sustainable sediment management strategies in the Port of Felixstowe, the UK. Sediment conditioning with the Tiamat system and other maintenance dredging techniques is linked to the nautical bottom applications for improved port accessibility.

Academic background

Dr. Alex Kirichek is an assistant professor in the Section of Rivers and Ports of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at TU Delft. Alex has a MSc degree in Civil Engineering. He defended his PhD title in Applied Geophysics at TU Delft in 2018. After his PhD study, he conducted postdoctoral research on rheological characterization of sediment for developing new maintenance dredging strategies in the group of Port and Waterways (TU Delft). Alex worked as Researcher/Advisor the Department of Ecosystems and Sediment Dynamics in the Unit of Marine and Coastal Systems.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Sustainability
  • Ports
  • Inland Waterways
  • Accessibility
  • Maintenance dredging
  • Sediment transport
  • Fluid mud
  • Sailing trough mud
  • Circular Economy
  • Sediment management


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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