Car tires protecting marine structures from scour
ERJ staff report (TP)
Lowestoft, UK – A British firm is using old car tires as an innovative solution for scour protection of marine structures.
Scouring (or erosion) of the seabed around fixed structures can affect offshore oil and gas platform installations, turbines, bridge abutments, subsea cables and pipelines. It is also a problem for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy device industries.
A traditional method of combating scour is the placement of rock and stone armour or concrete mattresses around the structure.
Scour Prevention Systems Ltd (SPSL) follows a similar principle but uses car tires connected together to form mats.
Placing the mats flat on the seabed entraps sediment within their centres. The sediment makes the mats self-stabilising and prevents the lowering of the seabed by scouring. As the high energy tidal flow transports sediment over the mat, the flow is disturbed and speed reduced. Sediment caught up in this disruption becomes entrapped within the mat’s void spaces.
The shape and form of car tires are important features. Their density is perfectly suited for stabilising the seabed, and being less dense than the seabed sediment, they do not sink like rock or concrete.
SPSL said the potential market is huge – an estimated 9,300 km of subsea oil and gas pipelines are projected to be installed between 2012 and 2017, along with 11,000 km of inter-array and export cable at offshore wind farms over the next ten years.
SPSL was founded in 2009 and is based at the OrbisEnergy innovation centre in Lowestoft.
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Website for SPSL