By Karen Dyer - Business Edge Published: 02/05/2004 - Vol. 1, No. 3
Underwater technology guru Phil Nuytten likes to think big - and deep.
When one of Canada´s premier diving pioneers and inventors looks to the future of his industry, he talks knowledgeably about deep sea diving and submersibles, but it is his newest project that really makes his eyes gleam.
"I have a plan for an underwater Mars-like colony. It will essentially be powered by the heat vents on the ocean floor and will house people to work on an undersea mining operation out of the heat vents. I´ve spent the last couple of years talking to people all around the world about this concept, and I´m ready to see it happen. I call it Vent Base Alpha."
Talking with Nuytten is like speaking to Jules Verne, with a difference. While Verne created his futuristic worlds with words, Nuytten shapes his from high-tech plastic and metals. And unlike Verne´s, most of Nuytten´s dreams have actually come to pass.
The underwater technology world is a closely-knit community and Nuytten is a major player in Canada and around the globe. He is the founder and CEO of Nuytco Research Ltd. and Can-Dive Construction Ltd. Oceaneering International Inc., a company he helped found in the 1960s that is currently trading just short of a billion dollars per year on the NASDAQ.
Another one of Nuytten´s companies, Hollywood Underwater Ltd., has been involved in the production of more than 130 movies, including a couple that have his own inventions as the starring characters. The Abyss, Titanic - just about every major production with an aquatic theme has used equipment and manpower from his company.
But research is still his first love. He sees Nuytco as the armourer for deep sea oceanic researchers and divers from around the world.
"We´re like the people who live under the stairs. Nobody knows we´re here, but there is very little in our society that doesn´t involve underwater work," Nuytten says. "The bridges that you cross every morning had their footings placed by deep-sea divers. Trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific cables are all maintained by undersea vehicles. Docks and dams are inspected and repaired by divers. There´s a tremendous amount of underwater work."
That work load has increased exponentially with the advent of fibre-optic networks, often laid off shore. Nuytten notes that the city of Victoria is soon to be the northern terminus for a web of cable that runs all the way from Oregon. This web contains a series of sensors on the sea floor, broadcasting back a range of data regarding everything from seismic information to fish stocks to undersea mining.
"Victoria has gone about this quietly, but in a big way," he says. "They are setting up a marine observatory centre and a huge inner harbour development all devoted to oceanic research."
Nuytten sees British Columbia as a world leader in oceanic expertise. "Vancouver is sometimes called Submarine City because it is such a hot-bed of excellence in undersea technology," he says.
Colin Heartwell, Director of Policy and Analysis for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, notes that while it is only considered a sub-set of Canada´s miscellaneous manufacturing exports, "the federal government has identified ocean technology as a priority of the current Innovation Strategy."
Starting the first dive shop in Vancouver as a 15-year-old, Nuytten worked after school and weekends to establish his business. Once he got his feet wet in the industry, there was no looking back.
After years of salvage diving up and down the coast, in 1979 Nuytten set out to fill what he saw as a gaping hole in the industry - the need for an individual dive suit capable of achieving depths to which only submersibles can descend.
After years of intense research, in 1987 Nuytten was the recipient of the Canadian Award for Business Excellence for the result of his labours. His invention was called the NEWTSUIT, and was the first one-atmosphere diving suit, allowing the wearer unprecedented dexterity and mobility. He formed a manufacturing company called International Hardsuits, and since then, the NEWTSUIT has found its way into almost every navy in the world.
Nuytten could have rested on his laurels, but once again he looked to the depths. The technology behind the NEWTSUIT was changing, and the suits themselves were highly expensive to produce.
After losing International Hardsuits in a hostile takeover to an American firm, he turned his attention to producing single-pilot submersibles called DEEPWORKERS and a lighter and cheaper dive suit called the EXOSUIT.
He´s just completed a lucrative five-year contract with National Geographic in their "Sustainable Seas" project. And last week, Nuytco sent two submarines and five men down to Texas to train marine scientists, underwater technicians and astronauts from the Canadian Space Agency and Johnson Space Centre in the fine art of piloting these tiny machines.
The training takes place in a huge pool, 150 feet wide, 250 feet long and 50 feet deep. This is Nuytco´s second training trip to the Texas-sized swimming pool. The first session, held last July, gave a similar training experience to marine and coral reef scientists from the U.S. and Mexico.
The Canadian astronaut team is led by Dr. Dave Williams, who in past years has had previous neutral buoyancy training in the NEWTSUIT. After the pilot training session, members of the Nuytco team have been invited to participate in the underwater neutral buoyancy laboratory at the Johnson Space Center, where Williams will be working in full space gear in the submerged space shuttle simulator.
Nuytten himself gave up deep sea diving years ago after losing one too many friends to the dangers of the ocean, but he donned a wetsuit in Texas to shoot underwater videos of the training session.
Training sessions like these allow Nuytco to continue to focus on developing the small NEWTSUBS and DEEPWORKER submersibles that Nuytten sees as the most direct route to undersea development and, ultimately, to Vent Base Alpha. Nuytten calls Vent Base Alpha a "totally new concept," and has spent the last couple of years selling it to the international diving community.
His idea is built around utilizing the deep sea vents that pepper the ocean floor around Vancouver Island. These vents are essentially hot, mineral-rich water flowing out onto the ocean floor through volcanic lava between the tectonic plates upon which Vancouver Island floats.
The hot, fluid smoke that emerges from the vents is made up of dissolved minerals. According to Nuytten, the more than 500 degree temperature differential between the water and the material emerging from the vents creates an enormous opportunity to generate power. "When you have that kind of free, unlimited power potential, you can literally set up an artificial sun," he says.
He visualizes a colony under a giant dome, with an enormous generator utilizing this water power to extract oxygen from the water, grow crops and sustain life support systems on the ocean floor. Miners who lived in this world underneath the sea would then cool the water to selectively drop out the metals present in the vent smoke according to their specific gravity. He sees opportunities for many metals, including molybdenum and most particularly cobalt, plentiful in the vents around the west coast.
Science fiction, perhaps? When Phil Nuytten, 1992 Order of B.C. recipient, inventor of the military submarine rescue system REMORA, the NEWTSUIT, the EXOSUIT and the DEEPWORKER submersible is involved, you can be sure he´s not out of his league.
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.....The Chinese government has just lodged the first application to mine for minerals under the seabed in international waters, in this case on a ridge in the Indian Ocean 1,700 metres (more than 5,000ft) below the surface.
The Chinese are hoping to recover valuable metals such as copper, nickel and cobalt – used in mobile phones, laptops and batteries – as well as gold and silver, in an area of currently inactive "hydrothermal vents", underwater geysers driven by volcanic activity.
Some of the vents, known as "black smokers", are black chimney-like structures which shelter their own ecosystems of little-known creatures, while emitting a cloud of hot, black material containing high levels of sulphur-bearing minerals, or sulphides.
Having explored the area using remotely operated underwater vehicles, the Chinese want to mine the sulphide deposits of a region of seabed in the south-west Indian Ocean for the rich mineral ores they contain. They have already applied to do so to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the Jamaica-based body set up under the 1982 UN Convention on The Law of the Sea to deal with the liabilities relating to seabed exploitation and the environmental damage it may cause....
source THE INDEPENDENT
....Deep-sea hydrothermal vent systems are attracting considerable interest from commercial mining companies.Vent systems precipitate seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits that are rich in copper, gold, silver, and zinc. Although commercial firms are targeting inactive SMS deposits, these deposits are so little studied that it is unknown whether they harbor unique species or ecosystems. .. read here
No doubth the business in mid ocean is on....
How will the people live there ? Shore transport in Helicopter as standard in the oil/gas industry will not happen - does TSI have a proposal - or a serious discussion going on ?
How to create living space near a mid ocean ridge ? weather exposed platforms? - submerged concrete shells? - What about a autonomous submarine for exploring those resources in first place?
Let me hear your thoughts...
European Submarine Structures AB
-----------------------------------------Paper Number 3011-MSTitle OCEAN IMPLOSION TEST OF CONCRETE (SEACON) CYLINDRICAL STRUCTUREAuthors Roy S. Highberg and Harvey H. Haynes, Civil Engineering LaboratorySource Offshore Technology Conference, 2-5 May , Houston, TexasCopyright 1977. Offshore Technology ConferenceLanguage EnglishPreview ABSTRACTAn ocean implosion test was conducted on a pressure-resistant concrete cylindrical structure to obtain the depth at implosion. The structure was a reinforced concrete cylinder with hemispherical end caps, twenty feet (6.1 m) in overall length, ten feet (3.05 m) in outside diameter, and 9.5 inches (241 mm) in wall thickness. The structure was near-neutrally buoyant having a positive buoyancy of 12,000 pounds (5.4 Mg) for a hull displacement of 85,000 pounds (38.5 Mg). The implosion depth of the cylinder was 4700 feet (1430 m). A predicted implosion depth, using an empirical design equation based upon past test results, was 16 percent less than the actual implosion depth.INTRODUCTIONA pressure-resistant, reinforced concrete hull was constructed in 1971 as part of a Seafloor Construction Experiment, SEACON I. The structure was placed on the seafloor at a depth of 600 feet (180 m) for 10 months. Figure 1 shows the SEACON I hull prior to its ocean emplacement. Since its retrieval in 1972, it has been located in the open air about 150 ft. (50 m) from the ocean. In the summer of 1976, the structure was returned to the ocean for an ultimate load test, that is, the structure was lowered into the ocean until implosion.SPECIMEN DESCRIPTIONThe cylindrical structure was assembled from three precast, reinforced concrete sections. The straight cylinder section, 10.1 feet (3080 mm) in outside diameter by 10 feet (3050 mm) in length by 9.5 inches (241 mm) in wall thickness, was fabricated by United Concrete Pipe Corporation. The concrete hemisphere end-closures, 10.1 feet (3080 mm) in outside diameter by 9.5 inches (241 mm) in wall thickness, were fabricated in-house. Tolerances on the sections conformed to concrete pipe standards of not to exceed to ±0.75 inch (19 mm) for the inside diameter or minus 0.5 inch (13 mm) for the wall thickness.Steel reinforcement in the amount of 0.70% by area was used in both the axial and hoop direction. Reinforcing bars of 0.6 inch (15 mm) diameter were employed throughout the structure. A double circular reinforcement cage was fabricated for each precast section; the concrete cover on the outside and inside reinforcing cage was 1 inch (25 mm). For the cylinder section, hoop rebars had a spacing of 27.25 inches (692 nm) and 31.25 inches (794 mm) for the inside and outside cages respectively.The hemispherical end-closures were bonded to the cylinder section with an epoxy adhesive, no other attachment besides the epoxy bond was employed (Figure 2). The gap between the mating surfaces of the hemisphere and the cylinder was less than 0.13 inch (3 mm) for 75% of the contact area. Prior to epoxy bonding, the concrete surfaces were prepared by sandblasting and washing with acetone.Source: http://www.onepetro.org/mslib/servlet/onepetropreview?id=OTC-3011-MS&soc=OTC----------------------------------------------------------------------------Offshore Technology Conference, 2-5 May 1988, Houston, TexasCopyright 1988. Offshore Technology ConferenceLanguage EnglishPreview ABSTRACTThe U. S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory has developed formulas to predict the collapse of hollow concrete spheres or cylinders and has shown that they can remain watertight under the pressure of chemically active deep ocean seawater. This paper tabulates wall thickness, volume of concrete, weight of displaced water, and gives a concrete cost factor for several interior dimensions of one-atmosphere habitats or valve chambers for oil and gas wells, and describes a low-cost method for building submersible concrete structures by shotcrete laminating in floating formwork.INTRODUCTIONThe need for a "shirtsleeve" environment for workmen servicing subsea oil and gas wells has long been recognized, and by 1969 the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company had constructed a seafloor pressure chamber called a "wellhead cellar" of steel designed to be lowered from the surface and connected to each well in the undersea field (1). More recently, a study was made on the feasibility of a one-atmosphere subsea collection, test, kill, and transport system for controlling and delivering gas from multiple wells in the Troll field off Norway in 1,115 ft. of water (2). Access to the subsea chamber is via a lift inside a slender steel nonarticulated tube "monopile" which provides a continuous atmospheric connection with the surface and supports a helideck.In the past 20 years more than 60 undersea habitats have been deployed for scientific research, or for military, commercial, and recreational use. More are needed, and concrete is the cheapest and most durable material for marine use, but innovative building methods are required to make concrete economically feasible as a substitute for welded steel construction. This paper presents new methods and concepts for using concrete offshore.BACKGROUNDIn order to determine the long-term durability of concrete in the deep ocean, the U. S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory immersed 18 concrete spheres in the Pacific Ocean at depths ranging from 1800 to 5000 ft. Each sphere was 66 inches in diameter with 4-inch thick walls and was designed for a working depth of about 3000 feet at 1300 psi.The design strength of the concrete was 8000 psi but after 5 years, tests showed a 15 percent increase. This remained the same after 10 years. No visible deterioration of the concrete was observed in any of the spheres and leakage varied from 0 to only 14 gallons after 10 years.Spheres immersed beyond the designed depth collapsed and a formula was developed to predict the wall thickness needed for concrete spheres and cylinders of various outside diameters to survive at various depths (3). The authors contemplated that in the future, methods may be developed to build massive structures on the seafloor at which time it would be desirable to have designs for negative buoyancy and deeper depths.Number of Pages 4
The catamaran float / The plate float out / The real estate squaremeter deal / The Captain Nemo float out / The bubble hotel / The current turbine / Breakwater lagoon marina / Oceanic port city design /
The bubble hotel.
It bases on the fact that there is a booming market for exotic hotel vacations. It ranges from Ice hotels, to tree hotels, and there is even a underwater hotel in use as we speak. Jules Underwater Lodge in Florida. There has been big intents of underwater mega hotels in dubai and fiji that folded due problems on the finance front. So it seems logical to start with a single room or a underwater cabin-pod on a low scale and take it from there.
Where were you born?Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It’s stillmy home today.What is your occupation?President of Nuytco Research Ltd.; of Can-DiveLtd.; of Hardsuits Inc.; and of SeagraphicPublications, which includes manufacture andoperation of deep-diving submersibles(DeepWorker); construction and offshorecommercial diving contractor manufacture andoperate one-atmosphere diving suits (Newtsuit/Inventor, entrepreneur, explorer, presidentand founder of Nuytco Research Limited andCan-Dive Services Limited. An internationallyrecognized pioneer in the diving industry, PhilNuytten has spent 40 years creating deepwaterdive products that have opened the ocean’sdepths to exploration and industry. His goal hasbeen to provide scientific, technical, military,and sport divers full access to continental shelfdepths without the hazards of decompression,so that humans can explore, learn about, andprotect the world’s oceans.Qwith&AR..T.. (Phil) NuyttenExosuit); and publisher of Diver magazine, thelongest-established scuba diving magazine inNorth America.Why did you choose your career path?I began diving in 1952-53 as a very young boy.Diving equipment was expensive and hard toget, so I made much of my own equipment. Istarted the first Scuba shop in western Canadawhen I was 15 years old and ran it after schooland on weekends. I did a lot of light salvage andrecovery work on the side and made the decisionto become a commercial diver. The rest followed.What is your personal motto?In commercial underwater work, my motto hasalways been “Safety, performance, profit” –strictly in that order.What hobbies do you enjoy when you are notworking?Northwest Coast native art: collecting oldpieces and carving/engraving new work. Soundengineering and song writing. Collectinghistorical diving equipment and over-seeing(as president) the Historical Diving Society– Canada. Writing books, monographs andtechnical papers on native art and diving.What are some of your career highlights?Invention of the Newtsuit ADS, DeepWorkersubmersibles, and Remora Submarine RescueSystem, and the acceptance of these devices asstandard equipment in the U.S. Navy and othernavies, world-wide. On the commercial side,the co-founding of Oceaneering InternationalInc. in 1969.What do you like most about your job? The least?I like coming up with innovative solutionsto difficult problems and so that’s what myteam and I do. My least favourite thing isbureaucracy in all its insidious forms.What are some of the biggest challenges your jobpresents to you?The biggest current problem is how to get allof the things I want to do – and plan to do –actually done before they pack me off, droolingand babbling, to the ‘home.’What advancements in undersea technology haveyou witnessed during your career? Is there onethat proved most beneficial to you?Probably the most dramatic advancement I’vebeen privileged to witness, generally, is the riseof electronics. More specifically, the advent ofthe digital revolution.What new undersea technologies would you liketo see?My pet ‘big project’ is called “Vent-base Alpha”and comprises a self-contained one-atmosphereundersea habitat built around a ‘black smoker’(a subsea heat vent). The vent would powera giant stirling cycle engine to produce powerand an artificial ‘sun.’ Inhabitants would beunder normal pressure inside the habitatand would use one-atmosphere systems likeDeepWorkers and Exosuits to go to workoutside the habitat. The ‘work’ would bemining the highly mineralized heat vent fluidsfor laboratory-pure metals, which wouldproduce a revenue stream for the habitat.(Check out ‘Phil Nuytten – Nextfest’ onYoutube for more info.)What does the future hold for you?Definitely the “Vent-base Alpha” project.The immediate future is to finish the Exosuitprototypes and then make test units availableto scientific institutes, marine contractorsand diving schools. My objective is to switchdeep-diving – both work and exploration –over to one-atmosphere. Using the armour oftechnology is the only way we fragile critterscan greatly exceed our biological designlimitations and get to colonize the deepoceans of this planet.What does the future hold for the oceantechnology industry?Unless we figure out a way to make the planetbigger, we must ultimately move back into theoceans. At that juncture, the ocean technologyindustries will come into their own in a bigway. In the interim, this sector continues togrow at a healthy pace, year after year. Thisis an incredible contrast to that long ago timewhen I was a high school student wonderinghow I could make some sort of a living in theundersea field. The sub-sea opportunities noware a hundred-fold greater and I believe theywill continue to accelerate.What advice do you have for people just startingin the industry today?I envy you! My advice is to select a broad fieldof undersea interest: science, military,construction, research, sport, education, etc.Then keep narrowing it down until you findthe exact niche that suits – then go for it.
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Welcome to Vent-Based Alpha: a permanent, manned outpost 5,000 feet beneath the ocean's surface. The deep-sea mining colony is the dream of Phil Nuytten, a renegade explorer whose widely used inventions include hard diving suits and submersibles that can descend thousands of feet while maintai...
Dive expert envisions Mars-like colony off coast of B.C. By Karen Dyer - Business Edge Published: 02/05/2004 - Vol. 1, No. 3 Underwater technology guru Phil Nuytten likes to think big - and deep. When one of Canada´s premier diving pioneers and inventors looks to the future of his industry, he talks k...
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BRASILIA, Jan 15 (Commodity Online): Brazil is chalking out plans to build a multi-billion-dollar underwater base to guard its offshore hydrocarbon resources and to explore farther into the sea for minerals under the seabed. A string of commercially viable finds of oil and gas deposits on the hig...
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China is to test a manned submersible capable of descending to 7,000 metres (23,000ft)* beneath the waves as part of a planned "deep-sea base project", the China Internet Information Centre reports. Xinhua news agency is keeping tight-lipped on details, but notes that the submersi...
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How can the successful colonization of the oceans prepare our technology to get ready for settlement of outer space. . Settlement in both ambients needs solving similar probl...
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Video of building and floating of the concrete floating base... . check wave movement
Kenn Feigelman and Deep/Quest 2 Expeditions are proud to be associated with the SeaBase 1 project. The following article appeared in the Kingston Whig Standard newspaper, May 4, 2010. The article explains the exciting work being done with the under-sea research facility.If all goes according t...
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