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151113 | Crowd-funding bid for Nautilus reef and tidal lagoon | Western Morning News


Crowd-funding bid for Nautilus reef and tidal lagoon

By WMN_PGoodwin | Posted: November 13, 2015

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A Westcountry inventor plans to crowd-fund his ambitious plans for a natural reef as the precursor to building a tidal-powered energy project in the Bristol Channel.

Joe Toland, 73, intends to raise the £4million required to create an artificial shipwreck off the coast of Cornwall.

If successful, his ultimate goal is the construction of a 26-mile (42km) long, 3.7-mile (6km) wide, tidal lagoon that would provide a constant supply of renewable energy to power more than four million homes across the South West.

The former aerospace engineer, now managing director of Fast Flow Tidal Products, in Plymouth, has partnered with firms including A&P, Bisso and Pipex to manufacture and construct his design for a prefabricated shipwreck, the SS Nautilus.

"These companies offer expertise in the manufacture and assembly of non-corrosive laminated materials that would mimic the likes of girders, hull and decking on the ship," he explained.

“The completed vessel will look like a genuine open hold freighter.”

The 60 metre-long, 15 metre-high and 18 metre-wide vessel is intended as a scuba diving attraction along the lines of the former Royal Navy frigate HMS Scylla, which was scuttled off Whitsand Bay, Cornwall in 2002 and has attracted thousands of divers from around the world.

“The cost of the entire project will be £4million. Fifty per cent will qualify for government grants due to the project's green credentials and employment opportunities with the remainder via a crowdfunding scheme,” he added.

The self-described “serial inventor” is also pressing ahead with his idea for a tidal lagoon in the Severn estuary, featuring an innovative new design capable of generating twice as much power as present lagoon systems.

Using the expertise garnered from the Nautilus, the lagoon would be situated in Bridgewater Bay and be constructed in sections utilising the same prefabricated technology.

Comprising two 18-metre high, 20 kilometre-long curved walls to form an open-ended rugby ball shape with a dividing wall at its centre, the lagoon would harness the same tidal energy that allows surfers to ride the famous Severn Bore.

“This is a world's first where the wall shape specifically increases tidal flow which triggers the flow pumps,” added Mr Toland.

“Unlike other lagoon projects which are constructed from traditional, uneven rock armour, the composite materials we'll be using will form a long and curved streamlined wall - an intellectual property design we have named Jetstream - with a girder framework that allow pumps to be attached every 20 metres,” he continued.

“This encourages the tidal flow to speed up close to the wall increasing kinetic energy and pumping extra water into the dual lagoon complex.

“By keeping the water level within the lagoon - the internal head height – higher than the outside and releasing it through the turbine house we can continue to generate energy even during slack water.”

Mr Toland plans a working demonstration of the tidal-operated pumps in Hayle later this year.

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