US patent office has granted a patent to Dr. S. Neelamani, Senior Research Scientist in the Coastal Management Program, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and his colleague Dr. K. Al-Banaa (Patent No. US 9,340,940 B2 dated 17 May 2016) for inventing a novel floating breakwater.
This new invention can be used for cost effective protection of coasts from wave erosion, protecting offshore oil terminal facility from direct wave action, and to create relatively calm marine area to facilitate extended marine construction activity during a year etc.
Conventionally, breakwaters are built using stones. For coastal erosion protection, conventionally seawalls, offshore breakwaters, groins and artificial sand nourishments are used. Each solution has its own merits and demerits. For example, construction of a seawall will eliminate sandy beach at the site of construction.
Offshore breakwater is expensive and not environmentally suitable if the location is rich in coral reefs. Groins will not work efficiently, if waves are acting normal to the beach, most of the time in a year. Artificial beach nourishment needs huge quantity of sand and need to be dumped on the beach periodically.
For countries with less resource of good quality stone (like Kuwait), alternative coastal protection structure is needed. With this point in mind, the KISR team has worked on new type of floating breakwaters for a span of three years. They have tested 30 different floating breakwaters in the wave flume facility to understand its wave transmission characteristics. For Kuwait type marine environment, a floating pontoon type breakwater with 15 to 17 m width will reduce about 70% of waves acting on the beach.
However, based on the scientific investigation, KISR has proved that a floating pontoon breakwater with 7 to 8 m width and 5 skirt walls of about 2 m depth at the bottom will be equal to or better than 17 to 18 m wide pontoon type floating breakwater. This new invention will save 30% to 40% of the cost of conventional pontoon type floating breakwater.
The proposed floating breakwater looks elegant, easy to construct and install, reorientation in the field is easy, will not damage corals at the seabed, will not pollute the water body and is very suitable for Kuwait as well as for Gulf type marine conditions.
The inventors thank Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences and Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research for sponsoring the research work and for the infrastructure facility to fulfill the research. Special thanks to Mr. Josko Ljubic, Mr. George Joseph and Mr. Ashok for their technical support.