Innovate UK Smart Grant - Next-generation coastal protection with Biobased Electrochemical Artificial Reefs (BEARs)

Project: Central government, health and local authorities

Project Details


The Bio-based Electrochemical Artificial Reef (BEAR) project will develop a cost-effective, long-term resilient solution to face the most pressing challenges of coastal protection worldwide. The project aims to replace the use of steel in CCell Reefs with bio-based materials to reduce costs, carbon footprint, and risk of supply shortages while maintaining the erosion mitigation of current CCell Reefs.

CCell Reefs seek to mimic the wave attenuation properties of natural coral and oyster reefs, dissipating wave energy and breaking waves before they reach the shore, thereby protecting coasts from erosion and restoring sand to the beach.

Electrolysis is applied to form a calcareous layer of rock on the reef surface that confers strength to the structure and allows the attachment of marine organisms. Over time, through the recruitment of oysters, corals or mussels on the rock, the structure evolves into a self-healing, living reef that protects fish and benthic animals. The BEAR project expands on our existing CCell Reef technology and launches our research in innovative materials for next-generation coastal protection technology.

In collaboration with the University of Bath the project aims to deliver:

* An optimised procedure to grow rock non-conductive bio-based surfaces using seawater electrolysis.
* Proof of the BEAR concept by designing and constructing a bio-based reef to achieve the same wave attenuation of current CCell Reefs.
* A 6-month pilot test at the Marine Site at the University of Portsmouth.

* Characterisation of the wave attenuation properties and biodiversity index of the mature BEAR prototype.

The success of this project would drastically reduce both the cost and environmental impact of coastal protection interventions. This in turn will remove economic limitations and lead to more inclusive and widely available shoreline management solutions.
Effective start/end date1/10/2231/10/24

Collaborative partners


  • Innovate UK


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