- The restoration of Indonesia’s precious coral reef ecosystems through the development of resource-friendly renewable tidal technology.
- Arup supports local communities whilst building-up knowledge in small-scale tidal turbine design.
In this project, Arup is developing a tidal turbine which will power the locally deployed Biorock technology through renewable tidal energy leading to electricity savings and thus savings in natural and financial resources for the local community.
The Biorock's technology will use the renewably generated electricity to apply a low-voltage current to a submerged conductive structure. As a result, minerals accumulate on the structure’s surface. This accumulation accelerates coral reef growth on the structure leading to a much faster coral reef restoration process than under fully natural conditions.
The project is located around the Gili Islands in close proximity to Bali island in Indonesia. Together with the local NGO, Gili Eco Trust, Arup is developing a technical solution for a suitable small-scale tidal turbine prototype which can be constructed and tested locally. The prototype’s manufacturing processes as well as in-situ testing and monitoring are part of the project’s milestones in order to assure the prototype’s suitability and long-term durability under real conditions.
Arup adds value to the project through the team members’ engineering skills regarding maritime engineering which are strongly needed by the local communities to carry out and implement such a project. Furthermore, Arup gains internal knowledge in small-scale turbine development and local community engagement whilst contributing to the firm’s overall goal of ‘Shaping a Better World’.
If the prototype and manufacturing processes are proven feasible, this technology can be deployed widely in similar conditions around the globe, thus multiplying the positive impact on the environment and on the local communities through resource and monetary savings.
The project will finally enable local communities around the Gili Islands to make use of the prevalent high renewable energy potential just in front of their door step leading to resource and monetary savings for their own benefit. Before, this was not possible due to a lack of engineering knowledge and financial means. Once the project has proven feasible, the technological innovation can be shared with other communities around the world proving to them that renewable energies can be a competitive alternative to traditional technologies such as for example diesel generators.
The local NGO, Gili Eco Trust, was aware of the potential to make use of renewable tidal energy due to their daily diving trips. However, their own attempts of building a first prototype failed since the turbine prototype was not functioning as envisioned. Through Arup’s engagement the local expertise was supplemented by Arup’s professional team of multidisciplinary engineers with the knowledge and professionalism needed to carry out a successful project. This enables the local NGO to further pursue their goals in restoring the local coral reefs more sustainably with less financial burden.
Engaging in this local community project has meant much to the firm from several angles. First, Arup has gained technical experience in small-scale tidal turbine design, barge and foundation system development as well as material, structural and electrical system design regarding maritime environments, 3D-printing and the development of complex manufacturing processes. Second, the Arup team involved has undergone a product development process which differs from a general engineering project process. This enables Arup to draw learning outcomes and improve the process executions for potential other product design projects in future. Finally, through the engagement in a community project in Indonesia, Arup has gained knowledge in local project organisation, local conditions, cultural differences etc. which could be useful for other projects in this region in future.
If the prototype and manufacturing processes are proven feasible, this technology can be deployed widely in similar conditions around the globe.