The Digital Reef

Reinventing Coastal Protection

We believe that everything can be better, not least coastal protection techniques that have not evolved in hundreds of years, until now.

"We cannot solve the problems caused by climate change with the same level of thinking and techniques that created them."
CCell Innovation

The Digital Reef

Coastal Modelling - Simulation of waves, currents and energy dissipation by the reef.

Reef Structure - Lightweight modular units that are stacked together and form the core of the reef.

Mineral Accretion - Growth of high strength rock crystals using electrolysis.

Power Management - Monitoring and precise distribution of renewable energy to stimulate rock and coral growth where it is needed.

Corals - Accelerated growth of corals in both local hatcheries and within the reef.

Renewable Energy - Harnessing renewable energy from ocean waves to power the reef growth.

The CCell solution
Coastal Modelling

Reefs are natural barriers to erosion, causing waves to break out at sea.

CCell Reefs mimic this behaviour, selectively reducing the power of large waves, which are typically bad for the shoreline. Smaller waves, which are good and help build sand back onto the beach, pass through unaffected.

Our reefs are porous structures, which can further reduce energy in waves by inducing turbulence as they pass through.

Modelling wave induced currents that affect beach sand deposits.
Wave modelling to assess the impact the CCell reef has on the strength of large waves.
Reef Structure

The backbone of the reefs is formed from a lightweight structure.

Currently we use steel to define the initial shape of the reef, around which calcareous rock is grown. This rock is a perfect substrate for plants and coral to attach, which become an integral part of the structure. This approach allows us to minimise the amount of material we put into the ocean.

We use a modular design to ease transportation and installation, with units typically 2.5m long and up to 2m high, that can be stacked to accommodate to site bathymetry.

Steel reef
Mineral Accretion

We use seawater electrolysis to form the rock on our reefs.

A safe low-voltage current is passed between a small metal anode and the steel structure. At the anode, oxygen is produced, which is beneficial for marine life. At the cathode (the main structure) the pH rises, inducing the precipitation of dissolved salts in seawater onto the structure.

The rock, formed of mainly Aragonite (calcium carbonate) and Brucite (magnesium hydroxide), grows at approximately 18mm per year and will automatically heal damaged areas.

Electron microscope image of calcite crystals
Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images help understand the types of rock crystals that we grow.
Power Management

Optimised power usage through precision control and engineering.

The voltage applied to the reef structure is precisely controlled and centrally managed to ensure that every coulomb counts.

The digital management system continually optimises the power output, controlling the distribution of available renewable power across the reef. Through the sensing of environmental conditions the reefs adapts to enhance rock and marine growth across varying conditions.

Thermal impage of PCB
Heat dissipation during extreme testing of electronics.
Corals

Our reefs accelerate coral growth and increase their resilience to climate change.

Building on over 25 years of research, this process has been shown to accelerate coral growth: fragments of broken or farmed corals attached to the structure can grow faster than on natural reefs. This method of reef-creation has been used to restore coral reef and fish habitats.

Our partners at the Living Reefs Foundation have been researching the effects of our electrolysis technology on the growth of young corals.

A fish and coral on an electrified reef
Wave Power

Wave power has an energy density more than 800 times that of wind.

CCell's patented wave paddle is a simple and sturdy design, inspired by nature, that extracts energy from ocean waves. The curve of our paddle is naturally strong and able to withstand extreme conditions, while the composite construction make the paddle ultra-light and durable. This device has the highest known power-to-weight ratio of any wave energy device.

Through minor adjustments during manufacture the unit can be optimised for the prevailing site conditions and is normally positioned adjacent to the growing reef.

CCell Wave Paddle
Talk to Us
Sam Ward
Sam Ward

Research Engineer

James Henderson
James Henderson

Product Engineer

Dr Will Bateman
Dr Will Bateman

CEO