Url https://www.cimne.com/sgp/rtd/Project.aspx?id=842
Project title Validation of inflatable breakwaters design for the intelligent protection of sandy beaches against erosion
Reference 2018 PROD 00148
Principal investigator Eugenio OÑATE IBAÑEZ DE NAVARRA - onate@cimne.upc.edu
Start date 01/05/2019 End date 01/02/2021
Coordinator CIMNE
Consortium members
Program Valorització i transferència innovadora Call PRODUCTE 2018
Subprogram PRODUCTE Category Catalán
Funding body(ies) AGAUR Grant 99.937,50 €
Abstract Most of the European margin of the Mediterranean shoreline suffers a generalized problem of beach erosion and loss of land. This problem also occurs in other maritime basins of the European continent. Indeed, the problem is well documented in various research studies funded by the European Commission, such as Eurosion. The problem arises as a combination of causes all having effect on the coast. The loss of sediments happens as the consequence of a disequilibrium between the sediments that arrive to the shoreline from inland and the coastal transport caused by the incident waves. On the one hand, there is a reduction of sediments arriving from inland because of the construction of river dams and the intense urbanization of the coastal areas. And on the other hand there is a change in the dynamics of coastal transport caused by the construction of harbors, but also because of the effects of climate change. The consequences of climate change are particularly damaging in the European shorelines because the sea basins around the continent have short fetches. Therefore, short period waves will have a more noticeable increase than long period waves; as severe atmospheric phenomena become more frequent. The development and construction of inflatable breakwaters promises not only to dampen the effects of climate change on the coastal dynamics of sediment transportation, but to entirely control those dynamics. Breakwaters parallel to the shoreline have proven extremely effective at protecting the shoreline against the effects of severe storms. But experience also shows that they have negative side-effects such as lack of water renewal or excessive and uncontrolled beach growth. Inflatable breakwaters solve this problems by erecting the breakwaters only when needed and thus preventing the side-effects caused by the very existence of the breakwater when it is not needed. The inflatable breakwater is a smart infrastructure which, through intelligent operation, interacts respectfully with the naturally occurring processes in the environment. And at the same time it adapts to the changing conditions of the sea state. That is, when the sea state creates a sediment dynamic favorable to the goals of the operating entities, the breakwater may remain deflated. Instead, if the sea state changes and generates a dynamic contrary to our interests, we can inflate the breakwater and protect the beach. Therefore, the impact on the natural environment is minimized. The economic and social impact of this invention is enormous. Tourism is one of the main industries in Europe, and the beaches are its main tourist destination. Protecting the beaches should therefore prevail as one of the main objectives of the administrations. Indeed, every year hundreds of millions of euros are spent around the coastline dredging sediments from the bottom of the sea and used to regenerate the beaches. This is an operation that repeats year after year causing a great and lasting environmental impact on the sea bottom. Let alone the economic impact for the taxpayer. It is clear that this project falls within the goals of the ¿Experience Based Industries¿ leading sectorial field of the RIS3CAT strategy. The Entrepreneur Scientist for the project and CIMNE have jointly filed a patent application of the invention. The intellectual property protection strategy is to file a European patent application. This strategy responds to the fact that the invention has the most value in places that meet all the following criteria: a) sea basins with short fetches, b) intensely developed and urban coastal land stripe, c) high economic value of the beaches. Most of the European countries with sea shores meet these criteria, while most of the countries outside Europe don¿t meet some of these criteria. Different government bodies have shown interest in this technology. The Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Demarcación de Costas of Barcelona and Tarragona, the Ministry of Environment of Spain, and the cities of Sitges and Deltebre have expressed their interest in exploring this technology. The industrial capabilities needed to apply this technology are well within the reach of the industrial environment of Catalonia (construction, steel and concrete production, pumping machinery, etc.) and taking advantage of top world producers of some specialized materials based in Europe, such as neoprene fabrics (Italy, France) fiberglass reinforced trusses and decks (The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy), and advanced composite fibers (Spain, Germany).
Aquest Projecte està cofinançat pel Fons Europeus de Desenvolupament Regional (FEDER) de la Unió Europea en el marc del Programa operatiu FEDER de Catalunya 2014-2020 amb un ajut de 99.937,50 €. NºExpedient: 2018 PROD 00148