Artificial flexible seagrass unit

OFFER from Spain, reference: 13 ES 276D 3SEI, valid from 07-05-2013 untill 26-04-2014

Technology
  • Title:
    Artificial flexible seagrass unit
  • Start date:
    7 mei 2013
  • End date:
    26 april 2014
  • Summary:
    A research group from a Spanish University has developed an artificial seagrass unit that is a newfangled tool developed to take advantage of the engineering properties displayed by natural seagrasses in any soft substrate. It allows obtaining environmental and economical benefits from the coastal ecosystems at the same time it provides an important tool to protect. They are interested in licence agreement and/or a technical cooperation agreement.
  • Description:
    This artificial seagrass unit consists in a flexible tube sealed at both ends providing positive buoyancy and bending, which is coupled to a sharpened stick that serves as anchorage to the substrate. Both structures mimicked the above and belowground structures of natural seagrasses.

    This “one by one” unit design enables the creation of different meadow configurations independently of the obstacles present in the sediment (i. e rocks, pipes, coral reefs or natural seagrasses), and allows marine fauna to colonize both artificial leaves and roots. Thus, a group of these units offers refuge and shelter to a elevate number of organisms, carrying an increment on abundance and diversity levels in the selected location, while creates a hatchery and nursery spot to commercial or endangered species. Similarly, the artificial units can be located close to natural seagrass or sensitive ecosystems as a protective barrier, facing main physical impacts such as severe storms or currents. The artificial seagrass units reduce the erosive forces over the sediment and promote the sedimentation of particles becoming an important tool for protection of human facilities (outfalls, pipes or pillars) and against coastal erosion. Furthermore, it constitutes a valuable tool for coastal marine research that could help to address and understand processes of interest (i.e coastal erosion, chemical fluxes, primary and secondary production).

    The artificial seagrass unit has a simple design simulating both the above and belowground structures of seagrasses. The individual design allows a great versatility, since the final seagrass patch has infinite design possibilities (i.e. size, density of structures, morphometry of such structures…) depending on the needs. The new design is composed of a flexible tube sealed at both ends that provide positive buoyancy and flexibility (due the air contained inside, as natural seagrass do).

    This above structure is attached to a sharpened stick that serves as anchorage system to the substrate. Thus, in the case that the units are not covered by water (e.g. intertidal areas), the structures remain lying on the bottom and when the tide rises, the tubes rise and interact with the hydrodynamics emulating the natural behaviour of the seagrass meadow. To simulate the plant rhizomes and roots and to facilitate the anchoring to the sediment, each tube is attached to a stick at its ending point. This stick is buried in the sediment, so each artificial unit can be allocated independently in the sea bottom.
    These artificial units can be used for different issues, since are designed to imitate the engineering capabilities of seagrasses and submerged vegetations. For instance, can be used to: prevent sea bottom erosion (currently a wide problem); to protect human facilities as outfalls, pipes or pillars from physical impacts and erosive processes that could be a risk for the integrity of the structures; to reduce the turbidity levels in the wat
Partner Sought
  • Type of Partnership Considered:
  • Technical Specification or Expertise Sought:

    - Type of partner sought: industrial partners.
    - Specific area of activity of the partner: pharma sector, o biotechnology companies.
    - Task to be performed by the partner sought: joint further development of the kit if any improvements are detected and exploitation.

    University

Organisation
  • Development stage:
  • IPR Status:
    Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted
  • Market keywords:
    Other (uncategorised)
  • Technology keywords:
    Marine Science
  • NACE keywords:
  • Advantages and Innovations:
Client
  • Type and Size of Organisation:
  • Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
  • Year Established:
  • Turnover:
  • Country of origin:
    Spain