News / Industry News & Events / An Engineer Thinks This is the Solution to Combat Coral Bleaching (08/02/17)

An Engineer Thinks This is the Solution to Combat Coral Bleaching

08/02/17

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It is not difficult to see how this engineering solution could give life to bleached corals again.

Earlier this year, reports said that coral bleaching, a phenomenon which happens when water temperature becomes too hot to the point that corals become stressed and expel the algae living within its tissue, had damaged two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef off Australias coast.

Climate change is pointed to be one of the major causes of coral bleaching, leaving corals around the world lifeless under our oceans when become too stressed.

Now Mohammad Mo Ehsani believes that he has found a solution to this problem. He is an engineer and a professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Arizona.

His idea is to move around cold water among the bleached corals through a single pipe that could be connected as long as possible. Meaning the InfinitPipe, as what Ehsani calls it, could be as stretched as it could be depending on the need.

Under the Tucson-based company QuakeWrap, Ehsani specializes in repairing infrastructure using fiber-reinforced polymer. His product is what he believes to be the savior of coral reefs from coral bleaching. And the American Society of Civil Engineers thinks so. The company received the Innovation Award last year for the product. The InfinitPipe has a primary purpose of pumping cooler water deep into the ocean up to the shallow where coral reefs live. That should give corals the opportunity to heal, as not all bleached corals are technically dead yet until they experience continued stress and bleaching.

It is not difficult to see how this engineering solution could give life to bleached corals again, given that the technology is easy to use with minimal maintenance. Ehsani pointed out that its really the infinite pipe that makes this proposal economical. InfinitPipe also doesnt need to be connected to the grid as it uses energy from wave motion to power the pipe. Moreover, it is assembled on site hence reducing transportation costs.

While the idea is revolutionary, Ehsani needs the government or private organizations to fund this and test the idea.

To scale them up and get the larger parts made is very doable, he said. What we are saying: it takes money to do it.

QuakeWrap has already created smaller prototypes which were used in tests but the company needs to build larger equipment to save the stressed corals out in the ocean.