While the earth’s energy resources are fast depleting, countries across the world are fighting to acquire control of those that are still extant. Greater exploitation of marine resources has resulted in horrific tragedies. For instance, oil spills have devastating effects on the ocean ecosystem, that in turn take years, and even decades, to reverse. As a way of tackling the problem of environmentally-hazardous oil spills, a team of designers, based in China, has come up with a plan that envisions offshore oil rigs as multifaceted, eco-friendly habitats.
Dubbed as “Noah Oasis“, the plan proposes a future where these vertical habitats could help restore the oceanic environment, especially after an oil spillage. Imagined as towering bio-habitats, the ingeniously-built structures would also provide protection against future catastrophes. Talking about the project, the design team, which includes Ma Yidong, Qin Zhengyu, Jiang Zhe and Zhu Zhonghui, said:
With the increasing demand of energy resources and the exhaustion of inland petroleum, the exploitation of marine seems inevitable… Our design transforms the original rigs into vertical bio-habitats, which aims to exert instant response to oil spill, restore damaged eco-system and offer all beings shelter from future disasters. The original rig will become a reactor center, where the spilled oil will be converted into catalyst and building materials, as well as a recreational center and research facility.
Named after the Biblical character, Noah, who saved his family and animals from drowning in the Great Flood, the plan outlines three main strategies by which a disaster, like oil spillage, could be effectively mitigated. According to the proposal, the original oil rig would be transformed into a multifunctional reaction-cum-research center. An intricate network of pipes, fitted with specially-designed floaters at one end, would be installed underwater.
In the event of an oil spill, the floaters would swiftly absorb the released oil from the ocean surface. The collected fuel would, then, be sent to a processor where it would be converted into a catalyst facilitating the growth of coral reef colonies. The treated crude oil would also be used to produce building materials, like plastic. In the case of future disasters, the towering structures would provide shelter to marine creatures, much like Noah’s Ark.
The plan has received special mention in this year’s eVolo Skyscraper Competition.