CCell Provides the Energy to Save Coral Reefs

British wave energy start-up Zyba has teamed up with Biorock, which builds artificial coral reefs with the hope of simultaneously providing energy and coastal protection for islands. It has developed a new curved technology, the CCell, with a lightweight design that allows it to capture a greater amount of the ocean’s awesome power than its competitors.

Working with Biorock – both the company and technology name – Zyba hopes to provide island communities with a new source of clean and reliable energy. The power will also be used in the construction of coral reefs, which provide important coastal protection and bustling ecosystems for marine wildlife.

Hidden among the reefs, the CCells will take advantage of the total theoretical global wave energy potential of 32 petawatt (PW) hours per year. So far, no large-scale application for wave technologies has been successful and so Zyba is championing a smaller-scale approach. The power it creates is designed to enter the grid network and work alongside other renewable sources.

Symmetric vs asymmetric wave energy devices

The concept of the CCell arose from the company’s founder, William Bateman, asking a simple question: “The energy in the ocean leads from the open ocean towards the shore, so it’s an asymmetric problem,” he says. “All I fundamentally did was question why are people making symmetric devices.

“I never meant to start a business in wave energy but I was looking at their devices and they were all symmetric, so they were either round or they were flat.”

Bateman went to University College London in 2012, where he asked friends to test a curved panel against a flat one. The results came back vastly in favour of a curved panel, which moved 40% more than the flat one, based on wave motion. As testing continued, researchers showed that as the wave hits the face of the panel, the curved shape forces the energy towards the central core where it could be collected. Additionally, the shoreward face of the panel is subject to less stress than a flat panel because the convex shape cuts through the water smoothly, reducing the risk of the panel becoming damaged in rough weather.

From this point, the project snowballed into Zyba and the patented CCell technology. With prototypes and testing complete, the final CCell was made comprising a glass and carbon fibre composite, making it light, flexible and, importantly, corrosion-resistant to increase its lifespan in seawater. There is only one moving part in each of the modular units and it has the highest known power-to-weight ratio of any wave device.

A symbiotic relationship protecting reefs

Zyba aims to tackle energy problems that large sources, such as offshore wind, cannot. “We have really moved away from using wave power for grid-scale electricity generation in the short term, but instead really trying to carve out a niche where wave energy is unique and actually has a significant intrinsic benefit,” says Bateman. “That’s really come about in the last six to nine months. Our focus at the moment has really been on coastal protection using a combination of the CCells and our partner’s technology, which is called Biorock.”

Biorock has been developed over the last 30 years by Professor Wolf Hilbertz, who died in 2007, and Dr Tom Goreau, as a way to grow artificial concrete. Biorock uses electrolysis to create a limescale-like substance by attracting the minerals in seawater. The rock this creates grows incredibly fast, as much as several centimetres a year, and is incredibly strong.

“The biggest single challenge for Biorock has always been its thirst for power at sea, conversely, we’re coming into a market where we are generating this power at sea and we need to get it to shore,” explains Bateman.

The companies have thus formed a partnership that allows them to build artificial concrete that protects coastal areas, while bringing in revenue from renewable energy production. “By collaborating with Biorock we are developing a symbiotic relationship in which we provide them with the power that they need,” says Bateman. “Equally, we can position our device where Biorock is growing a reef, so they are providing protection and fundamentally mass which helps to keep our unit in position.”

Clean and cool energy, despite challenges

As a start-up, Zyba’s main challenge throughout development has been financing. “For a physical product, where you have to do lab testing or actually offshore deployments, the costs are relatively high,” says Bateman. “When you’re doing the research and testing, you don’t really have time to be applying for funding, and then you get to the end of one round of funding and you have to stop and think, where am I getting the next bit? Obviously, you try to overlap them but often the funding doesn’t overlap so you do spend a lot of time and concern on how to grow in a sensible way.”

However, increased recognition for the technology over the past year has led to greater opportunities. Zyba was chosen to be part of the Clean+Cool Mission, organised by Long Run Works and sponsored by Innovate UK and the Department of International Trade it connects start-ups with investors in Silicon Valley, California, and allows entrepreneurs to share and develop ideas.

“Earlier this year we were selected alongside a group of 19 other companies to represent the greatest and the best of UK clean tech,” says Bateman. “It’s really interesting talking to the people over there because their attitude to start-ups is very, very different to what we see in the UK. It’s almost like everyone has a start-up, everyone’s got something going on in their garage and it’s all very chaotic.”

The trip encouraged the Zyba team to work on making changes in big increments by targeting smaller savings, leading to a focus on the nitty-gritty of the supply chain. “We originally thought that we’d manufacture the devices in the UK because the tooling behind the construction of our composite paddles was one of the major costs,” says Bateman. “Over the last six months we’ve actually been able to drive down the cost of our tooling for our relatively small device, from about £50,000 down to almost £2,500. The cheaper tooling is actually a better product – it’s a better module than the one we’d been quoted £50,000 for.”

Following Clean+Cool, Zyba decided to ship flat pack paddle moulds instead of the paddles themselves. It will provide local craftsmen, particularly yacht builders who are used to the required composite materials and methods, with the moulds and tools to make the CCell close to where it will be installed. This will help reduce the cost of the CCell, as well as supporting local communities.

Connecting wave energy to the grid

Zyba hopes the first CCell will be running offshore next year. “We are working really hard to get a row of devices installed just off the coast of Mexico,” says Bateman. “Hopefully by January, at the latest March, next year, it’ll be installed. What’s constraining us at the moment is overcoming some of the regulatory hurdles.”

CCells will be positioned along the coast of the island of Cozumel, starting with just one module. “The vision is that you would install one just to start with, just to make sure that you understand the local conditions and everything is correct, and then in the following years install in a line of devices along the shore,” explains Bateman.

Energy will then be transported underground to the island, where it will enter the grid system and work alongside other power sources. “Give or take 10%-20% of the energy that we generate will be needed to grow the Biorock, and the rest of that power we can then provide as an export to shore,” says Bateman.

The CCell could help provide clean, renewable power for small island communities, while protecting the coast and the underwater environment from the ocean. It’s a technology that kills two birds with one stone, and showcases a lot of potential on a small scale.

CCell: the energy to save coral


Before and After : Biorock Electric Reefs in Curaçao

Before and After time-lapse series by Michael Duss showing spectacular coral growth on Biorock electric reefs in Curaçao.

This video shows the coral development at our BioRock project in Curacao with the status September 2017. The video was created by the Curacao Divers for the Curacao BioRock Foundation.

 


Biorock Coral Restoration comes back to Jamaica after 25 years

BIOROCK ELECTRIC CORAL REEF RESTORATION COMES BACK HOME TO JAMAICA AFTER 25 YEARS

The first new Biorock electrical coral reef restoration project in Jamaica for 25 years has been started.

The small project is located in front of Westender Inn, at the extreme end of the West End of Negril, facebook.com/westenderinn

Electric reef restoration technology was invented and developed 30 years ago in Jamaica by late architecture Professor Wolf Hilbertz and Dr. Tom Goreau at the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory (T. J. Goreau & W. Hilbertz, 2012, Reef restoration using seawater electrolysis in Jamaica, in T. J. Goreau & R. K. Trench (Editors), Innovative Technologies for Marine Ecosystem Restoration, CRC Press).

It is a few kilometers from the last Jamaican Biorock project, in Little Bay. Local fishermen were amazed to see corals grow right over the solar panel powered Biorock reef.

Made from layers of conch shells, it was crowded with young lobsters and fish until the Biorock reef, the solar panel, and nearby houses were demolished by Hurricane Ivan on September 11-12 2004. Local fishers are eager to see more Biorock!

The area offshore from the project site had been a vast forest of elkhorn coral that reached the surface, which was demolished by Hurricanes Allen, Gilbert, and Ivan. There has been little or no sign of reef recovery along most of the coastline, except in a few small areas.

We have found elkhorn colonies nearby and are rescuing loose naturally broken coral fragments that are still alive but that would otherwise die, and propagating them on the Biorock reef.

There are so few remaining living naturally broken fragments now left in the area that we are starting with only around a dozen small naturally broken coral fragments, mostly Acropora palmata, Porites astreoides, Porites divaricata, Diploria clivosa, Diploria strigosa, and Agaricia agaricites. Two of these were found completely bleached where they had been washed into crevices.

But there are young corals of half a dozen species all over on the rocks underneath the Biorock structure, and these will grow up through the Biorock reef, while new corals will settle all around.

The result is that we will grow the reef upwards by about a meter, protecting the rocky shore from erosion, and eventually allowing sand to build up. The entire seafloor of the area is now eroding severely because it is densely covered with rock-boring sea urchins, constantly chewing holes right into the dead reef rock. We will turn a collapsing reef back into an actively growing one.

The return of life-saving Biorock electric reef restoration technology back home to the island of its birth can restore the lost corals, fishes, and vanishing beaches all around Jamaica if done on a large scale. Twenty-five years of involuntary exile from Jamaica were forced on us by lack of funding and support from both Jamaican and foreign institutions.

Since then we did around 400 Biorock projects in around 40 countries all around the world, keeping reefs alive when they would die from high temperatures and pollution, growing corals back rapidly in places where there has been no recovery, and even growing back severely eroded beaches in just months.

The Global Coral Reef Alliance thanks the Westender Inn, Negril for their support for the project, in particular Dan Brewer, Keith Duhaney, Steve Drotos, the entire Westender staff, Booty, Beenie, Ken, Ceylon Clayton, and the people of Orange Hill and Little Bay, Westmoreland, Jamaica.

Let’s make Jamaica’s coral reefs, beaches, and fisheries beautiful again: bring Biorock back home where it was born!

Westender, Jamaica, Biorock, coral, restoration, reef, Goreau

Staghorn coral growing nearly a centimeter a week on a Biorock reef in Negril, Jamaica. Photograph by Wolf Hilbertz, 1992


NYCDEP about to destroy historic 10 year NYSDEC salt marsh, oyster, and mussel restoration at McNeil Park, College Point, Queens

March 31 2017,
To: NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos State Senator Tony Avella

New York City Department of Environmental Protection is racing ahead with irresponsible plans to destroy the most successful oyster, mussel, and salt marsh restoration project ever done in New York City, or anywhere else.

These projects, approved by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, have for 10 years pioneered new methods for restoring these valuable ecosystems, providing habitat for birds, fish, and shellfish, protecting shores from erosion, and improving coastal water quality, which could save the City billions of dollars in adapting to and mitigating global warming and global sea level rise (please see current photos attached).

The MacNeil Park projects have shown for the first time how to restore vibrant marine ecosystems to barren shores where everything had died from toxic waste dumping at the site for more than 50 years. They not only restored life to a wasteland, but showed for the first time how to grow these organisms under extreme stress conditions that they normally could not survive. Our team is now expanding the project to fill in all the gaps.

10 years of work will be destroyed if DEP puts the storm drain where they intend. This will not only flush water shown by chemical analysis to have illegally high concentrations of toxic lead, copper, zinc, hydrocarbons, and untreated sewage, but the water flow will wash away the beach sediment and cause severe local coastal erosion at a site that is a designated public recreational area and entry way for kayaks.

Using the Biorock restoration method, we had 100% survival of oysters during the winter when 93% of control oysters died. The few surviving control oysters stopped growing in winter, and their shells were chalky, crumbly, and dissolving due to cold acidic water, but Biorock oysters grew all winter, and their shells were bright and shiny with no dissolution.

The Biorock restoration method has grown salt marsh lower in the intertidal zone than salt marsh grass can tolerate, it grows taller, faster, greener, and spreads faster than controls, grows back in larger spreading patches after every winter when controls die, and has prolific root growth and mussel populations which bind sediment and prevent erosion by waves.

The mussel growth has been so extraordinary that in a few years we have raised the height of the beach where we are growing them by up to a foot, much faster than the rate of global sea level rise, about an eighth of an inch a year. Therefore, we are able to grow beaches upwards at places where they are now washing away from erosion.

Oysters have spontaneously settled near our projects, but not away from them, showing that oyster settlement is increased by the Biorock process. These oysters have shown exceptionally high growth and survival.

These incredible results show for the first time that it is possible to extend salt marshes seaward to protect coasts from erosion. All salt marshes in the US are rapidly eroding and collapsing into the sea due to global sea level rise and increased storm wave strength caused by global warming. Jamaica Bay is the worst example of this. The methods pioneered at the McNeil Park project could save Jamaica Bay salt marshes, and help protect Kennedy Airport from flooding by the sea and storm surges (remember Sandy!).

This destruction of a historic restoration project is entirely un-necessary! There is an existing storm drain at the site that runs out past the project to the low tide mark, built long ago to prevent contaminated water washing directly onto the beach. But instead of using it or upgrading it, DEP plans to dump polluted water directly at the shoreline high tide mark, and flush away 10 years of extraordinarily successful work with polluted water!

The bulldozers are right at the edge of the project, ready to move into action unless DEC can get them to responsibly act to save New York City’s precious green shorelines! We urgently appeal for your help to save the projects that will make New York the leader in natural shore protection.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance

Follow up to September 14th 2016 letter:
Please Stop College Point storm drain killing world’s most important salt marsh and oyster restoration projects

McNeil Park is an important recreational area in Queens, that is now a pioneering environmental restoration and public education site. All photos were taken on March 29 and March 30 2017
Wildlife is now returning to a devastated area because of the restoration projects. These Green Shoreline ecosystems provide the best and cheapest protection of the coast against erosion and storm surges
The proposed discharge point for water polluted with unacceptable levels of lead, zinc, copper, and hydrocarbons, will also dump untreated sewage at the shore line onto the beach during storm events. right onto the public kayak entry area.
DEP has dumped pipes to flush contaminated water onto the beach right next to the restoration project signs (left), even though DEC has apparently not approved the drain project. So DEP cannot be unaware of the restoration projects!
This rock near the projects has about a dozen oysters growing on it, as well as many barnacles
This rock near the project has had around 20 oysters settle, grow, and survive on it. Such density of oysters is not found away from the projects
Mussel populations have dramatically expanded in recent years in the project area, and now cover the bottom in many places. They rapidly filter the water and clean it.
We are growing salt marsh lower in the water than it can normally grow, and the dense roots hold back the beach sediment and prevent it being washed away during storm waves. New leaves are now starting to spring up, and in a month there will be bright green salt marsh grass all over the area, unless it is killed by polluted storm runoff
The dense mussel and salt marsh growth has raised the height of the bottom by up to a foot in a few years
The salt marsh and mussels we have restored have raised the beach level by holding sand in place. Where they don’t grow, the sand and mud are washing away. Our goal is to fill the gaps and cover the entire area with growing habitat and fill in the spaces in between the clumps we have grown. The storm drain will flush polluted water right on top of the project, kill them, and wash away the sand. Eventually the sea wall will collapse because of erosion. Green shores are the cheapest and best protection
An old storm drain runs all the way from the shore right at the site of the new DEP storm drain. The new drain should do the same
The old drain goes all the way out into deep water past the low tide mark in order to avoid polluting the shore. Incredibly, DEP does not plan to do the same with the new drain, so they will destroy the habitat!

Brief overview of Biorock Technology Applications

revised: July 10 2014

Biorock® Technology:
Cost-effective solutions to major marine resource management problems including construction and repair, shore protection, ecological restoration, sustainable aquaculture, and climate change adaptation

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance

INTRODUCTION

BIOROCK® technology is a innovative technology that uses safe, very low-voltage, electrical “trickle” charges to grow and repair marine structures at any scale and to rapidly grow or restore vibrant marine ecosystems.

The BIOROCK® process was originally invented by the late architect Professor Wolf Hilbertz to produce natural building materials in the sea (also known as Seacrete, Seament, and Mineral Accretion), and developed by him and biogeochemist Dr. Tom Goreau to restore degraded marine ecosystems, fisheries, and beaches.

BIOROCK® provides greater benefits, faster results, and lower costs than any other alternative to solve a wide range of crucial marine management problems:

 
BIOROCK TECHNOLOGY PDF document


The EmeralPlanet broadcast: “Coral Reefs, The Oceans, and Climate Change”

Our outstanding guests concerning the importance of global coral reefs and oceans are:Segment ‘1’: Marcelian A. Cravat, Director/Producer, Angel Azul Documentary Film, (By Skype)*;

Segment ‘2’: Dr. Thomas J. Goreau, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance and President, Biorock International (By Skype and Telephone)*;

Segment ‘3’:  Marcelian A. Cravat, Director/Producer, Angel Azul Documentary Film (By Skype) and Dr. Thomas J. Goreau, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance and President, Biorock International (By Telephone)*;

Segment ‘4’:  Henri Georges Polgar, Executive Director, PanAmerican – PanAfrican Association (In-Studio) and *(In-Studio Skype/Telephone Back-Up) for Segments ‘1’, ‘2’; and ‘3’.

Angel Azul marks the environmental documentary debut of filmmaker Marcelina (Marcy) A. Cravat who explores the creation of hauntingly beautiful human like sculptures that eventually find their place on the Caribbean Sea floor. The artist is British born Jason deCaires Taylor who bonded with the sea as a boy living abroad in exotic places where coral reefs were his playground. Ocean discovery became his passion and from that grew a deep connection that would define his work as an adult.


Restoring coral reefs through art initiative breathes new life into Senggigi Beach

Sudibyo M. Wiradji, The Jakarta Post | Supplement | Thu, June 05 2014, 2:46 PM

Biorock, Indonesian, Senggigi, art, restoration, marine, habitat
Underwater work: Divers install art structures anchored to the reef rubble under the water (left). Artist Teguh Ostenrik takes part in the work. (Courtesy of Foued Kaddachi)

Underwater installations for an artificial reef park not only attract fish and divers but also benefit locals.

Senggigi Beach in Lombok, one of Indonesia’s emerging tourist destinations, is on its way to regaining it lost heyday as a habitat for shrimp, lobster, squid, jelly fish and other unique marine species.

The beach lost its appeal years ago due to the destruction of coral as a result of human activities and natural aspects. But the underwater world at the beach has now started to show signs of life following the underwater installment of art structures that make up an artificial reef park, also known as “underwater art gallery”.

“Once the art installations are placed underwater and are electrified, fish will come in throngs and swarm around them,” said celebrated local artist Teguh Ostenrik at the launch of the first Artificial Reef Park Lombok at Senggigi Beach recently.

Clad in a swimsuit, the creator of the Artificial Reef Park went on to say, “My dream is how to make a serious art piece useful for others in terms of providing job opportunities.”

“The three-month long project kept Pak Haji (owner of scrap metal workshop) busy preparing the needed materials for the project, with several others engaged in cutting, drilling, welding and so forth.”

With the “ART-ificial reef park,” as Teguh calls it, he expects it to serve as a gentle ocean floor for viewing art while snorkeling and diving among the marine life.

The underwater Artificial Reef Park Lombok adds to the list of biorock reef restoration projects across the world. Two of the largest projects are in Indonesia at Pemuteran in Bali with the Karang Lestari and the Gili Islands in Lombok with the Gili Eco trust. Both Karang Lestari and Gili Eco Trust are actively engaged in restoring and conserving coral reefs.

The inauguration of the eco-friendly artificial reef park took place on the Senggigi seaside and was part of a tourist attraction, enlivening the usually quiet beach.

The crowd’s attention was focused on the remaining scrap metal sculpture as West Lombok officials, represented by local marine affairs and fisheries agency head MS Rohadi R., and Stephane Servin, head of the Lombok Hotel Association, poured coconut water onto it in turns prior to the sinking of the art pieces to the cement seafloor moorings.

Several divers, including Delphine Robbe, reef restoration specialist at Gili Eco Trust, took the art piece by diving toward a designated spot where 15 others had been anchored to the reef rubble the day before. The 7 x 9 meter-reef park weighing around 1.6 tons was connected to a low-voltage electrical current generated by a floating solar panel.

The use of the low-voltage electrical current is not without reason.

“This will cause minerals in the water to form and adhere to the sculpture,” said Robbe, a consultant for the project. “Live coral fragments are then transplanted from other reefs and because the biorock is so similar to natural coral reef material, a new garden grows, often at two or three times the rate of a natural reef.”

According to her, the electrical current is what attracts marine life. “All those artificial reefs using everything from airplanes to ships to old railroad cars have proven to be a disappointment, rusting away and polluting the sea,” she said.

“Sculptures were used in Mexico’s massive Mesoamerican Reef some years ago as an example, but all they seemed to attract were sponges and algae. The electrification is the key. And it is completely safe for swimmers and marine life.”

I Komang Adi Aswantara, solution engineer at Contained Energy that supplied two panels in the initial project, ensured the safety of the sculptures despite the electrification. “The electrical current at the biorocks is very low and it is safe for divers and other marine species. That’s why we use the term ‘low-voltage electrical current’,” he asserted.

The artificial reef park was a collaborative effort of the Lombok Hotel Association (LHA) and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, with support from Indonesia-based Gili Eco Trust.

For the 64-year-old Teguh, the project is closely linked to his diving experience and concern about the changes in the marine environment.

Back in the 1980s when he snorkeled at Senggigi Beach, the beach was known as a habitat for lobster and squid. “I dived at the reef for years for its abundance of shrimp, squid and lobster. I had not been for a few years while in Europe and when I came back, the reef was sadly a lifeless desert,” he said.

The fact inspired him to recreate Domus Sepiae – Latin for house of squid, as a form of remembrance of what Senggigi was once so well-known for. “This project allows me to play a part in revitalizing the lost coral and to do it through my art.”

Small drop in the ocean

Meanwhile, Stephane Servin, general manager of the Sentosa Resort in Senggigi and chairman of the LHA, said the project would have a positive, long-term impact on Lombok’s fast growing tourist industry.

“We can’t pick up and move our hotels when the reef dies,” he remarked. “So, obviously it’s plain common sense to do whatever possible to preserve and protect the natural features that brought visitors here to begin with. And if possible, repair and recreate them using biorock science and at the same time we bring back the livelihoods for so many who relied on a healthy reef.”

According to Servin, apart from destructive human activities, such as bomb fishing, the cause of damage to coral reefs also comes from nature itself, notably El Nino. “El Nino creates high temperature, leading to seawater becoming hot and leaving coral dead,” he pointed out.

The project is a drop in the ocean, but “it is really an integrated program in which there is win-win situation: nature, business and people”.

“With more tourists coming to Senggigi Beach thanks to the artificial reef park, locals can have a new business opportunity of accompanying visitors eager to snorkel in the water around the park.”

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