With climate change, storms are becoming more frequent and ferocious, leading to the accelerated erosion of coastlines. This leaves many coastal communities and low-lying areas increasingly vulnerable to flooding and property damage.
Existing methods for protecting coastlines including seawalls, revetments, and dykes, are expensive, use lots of concrete (a leading cause of CO2 emissions) and have a detrimental visual impact.
By contrast, CCell has engineered a reef structure that mimics nature, providing a sustainable and long term solution to coastline protection.
The rough surface of a reef absorbs energy from the passing waves, while their size causes larger waves to break as they pass over.
CCell Reefs are engineered to mimic these key features. We start with a modular structure, around which we grow calcareous rock using calcium and magnesium from the sea - the exact same minerals that corals use.
The creation of calmer water behind the reef aids the accumulation of sand and sediment along the shore. This grows beaches and establishes a buffer that protects properties and vegetation during storms, just like a natural coral reef.
Through our CCell Sense technology installed within the reef and 3G connectivity, the reef is continuously reporting on its state and the state of the surrounding environment. Complemented with regular manual inspections, we ensure that the CCell Reef is operating as efficiently as possible.
When damage does occur, our electronic systems detect this near instantly and automatically divert power to those areas that need it most.
With the reduction in wave energy, the softer waves deposit sand onto the beach. This accumulation of sand increases the aesthetic value of coastlines.
The intricate complexities and robust design of our reefs provide an ideal habitat for marine life to become established. This is vital in supporting the regeneration of fish stocks and promoting the practice of sustainable fishing.
CCell Reefs provide on-site educational opportunities for the local community to understand the impact of climate change, learn how individually we can make a difference and have direct involvement in marine conservation.
Through a combination of sensing and acoustic cues, we attract desirable marine organisms to the reef, helping to create a vibrant and healthy marine ecosystem.
By improving the condition of the marine ecosystem, a mature CCell Reef will help spread coral polyps and repopulate the marine environment. Over time this will extend the benefits of coral restoration to a larger area.
With 50% of coral reefs across the globe already lost and 99% under severe threat, a CCell Reef represents an opportunity for coastal residents and communities to be pioneers in restoring the balance to our oceans.
In October 2016 the eye of Hurricane Matthew passed over Grand Bahamas causing extensive damage. It was estimated that 95% of homes in Eight Mile Rock and Holmes Rock experienced severe damage from the high winds and large waves.
When we visited the region the following year, damage to coastal properties was almost exclusively limited to those areas that did not have a offshore reef.
We found that offshore reefs caused larger waves to break offshore and that this also created a build up of sand behind the reefs. As the water in these locations was then shallower, this had the advantageous effect of limiting the strength of the waves during the hurricane.