Tethered Floating Robotic Barge to Collect Suspended Ocean Sediment to Build Up Beaches

The ocean and the surf are constantly moving around the sand at the beach. Sometimes it adds sand to the beach which is a good thing for us, other times it erodes the sand until there is no beach left at all. In the case where there is massive erosion causing conflicts and challenges for human civilization, what if we could reverse the process, and change the tide? What if we could have the beach constantly adding sand rather than taking it away? Over the last week or so I’ve given a lot of thought to this challenge, and come up with a few solutions.

Perhaps a couple of solutions together might solve the problem indefinitely. First, it seems that we could put man-made structures underwater which help the tide bring in more sediment to deposit on the beach. Secondly, perhaps we could use some of the mathematical modeling from the swash zone, and build a tethered floating barge to collect suspended ocean sediment onto a platform. The barge could have holes on top and sit partially submerged or fright at the water line. The wave action would flow onto the barge, back and forth, and all that swishing and swashing would help release the suspended sediment.

The sediment being heavier would fall through the holes into a cavity on the barge. The barge would be tethered to the shoreline, and when it got full it would be towed back into the beach, and once it landed on the beach, it could drive up the beach on tracks, and unload the stowed collected sediment or sand. Next, it would go back down into the ocean again, and collect more. I envision this entire system running on ocean wave energy, and therefore it would never need to be recharged.

Several of these units could work all night long putting sand onto the beach, along with the normal ocean currents interacting with the submerged structures placed in appropriate locations using mathematical modeling. Over the course of several months, the system could build up enough sand to alleviate any erosion attrition rates. Therefore it would constantly have a positive increase of sediment onto that beach.

The solution is simple, and the research reports on swash zones show that much sediment is transported and delivered to the beach due to the way these waves interact with the surface. If you’d like to look at some drawings, sketches, or hash out some of the details on this concept then please shoot me an e-mail so we can talk. Until then I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.