The technology pulls off another feat to suggest a solution for one of the most imminent problems of present. Currently, one of the major problems that mankind stares at is of drowning shores, submergence of low lying lands and rising ocean levels.
While the problem seems huge, Israeli inventors Yoram Alkon and Dr. Eli Kent have come with an ingenious idea that holds the potential of solving this problem. Their idea consists of building artificial grounds for sustenance using ‘ocean bricks’. The ocean bricks are actually scalable, modular structures that can act as basic units for building such artificial grounds. The grounds built with these bricks would be sturdy enough to make them suitable for making artificial islands on which everything from dwellings to oil platforms.
Ocean bricks are set to serve as especially suitable for low lying lands like New Orleans and the Netherlands which are highly susceptible to flooding. Besides the obvious looking benefit of providing relief from sinking, these structures can be used for several other purposes as well.
Their proposed functions include using them for stabilizing soils. Regions like Dead Sea and parts of Ogalla aquifer throughout the US have suffered intense damage due to destabilization of soil. It is in these regions that the soil stabilizing action of these bricks can be of immense use. In Alaska and Siberia, negative effects of melting of permafrost can be balanced using these bricks.
But this is not all about such simple looking idea. The bricks will be designed to be strong and sturdy with ability to bear weight and pressure. This makes them suitable for use in heavy machinery works too. As such, they hold a huge potential in the power harnessing industry. This can further be enhanced because these structures can be used equally well on land and sea.
They can easily be dragged to any points in the sea and sunk there to make oil platforms for gas drilling and as base to harness energy from even further out in seas. It could even be used to make platforms for off shore wind harnessing plants or used underwater for housing tidal generators which will be embedded in round holes about 18 feet in diameter.
The design of a basic ocean brick structure would include a tetra-hedron structure. The base would be formed of hollow concrete precast modules with a built-in solid section resembling a tetrahedron in shape. This would make a complete polyhedron made of four triangular faces.
The unique design of the structure would provide it much desired strength using minimal amount construction material. The tetrahedron design can be built with 92% lesser filling material than the normal amount of material needed. This would be a huge advantage in terms of coast saving and design efficiency. The polyhedrons made this way can further be interconnected to create a buoyant, strong yet light structure suitable for several purposes.
The ocean bricks, as per their proposed designs, can be compared to a holistic product that can give multifaceted advantages to the environment they shall be put in. It is suggested that these bricks will aid in development of suitable habitats for sea fauna, manmade reef and fish enhancer making them really beneficial for the marine environment. This will not only help in balancing out any damage done to the marine habitats but may actually help in building new favorable sites.
The sea fauna friendly bricks will be perfect materials to be put in middle of the ocean without causing any further environmental damage. The holed structure of the polyhedron would be a perfect spot for species like barnacles and shellfish which prefer such structures for growth and shelter. As such, it comes as no surprise that Swedish studies have found similar wind harnessing structures increase marine life in their vicinity.
Even though ocean bricks are a thing of future right now, they are definitely the need of present. If they can deliver everything they promise, they might be the thing our future needs.