Technological advances, environment and climate hazard

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Since the early 1990s, France has experienced an increase in climatic hazards and natural disasters on its Atlantic coast. Between 1994 and 2004, the country experienced at least three severe climatic events each year, compared to only one major event on average each year between 1950 and 1994, according to INSEE (1). Many of them relate to floods. Solutions have been developed to combat the devastating onslaught of waves on French coastlines. Unfortunately, these solutions disrupt the flow of ocean currents and thus distort the coastal ecosystem. As a result, new innovations that are environmentally friendly are now being developed more and more.

The French Atlantic façade, suffering from the vagaries of the climate

Global warming involves new international environmental challenges. Human activities are responsible for the aggravation and multiplication of natural disasters. One of the consequences of these events is the increase in sea level, thus inducing storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. The French Atlantic façade has been suffering the consequences for decades. Thus, 4/5th of french municipalities have been in a state of natural disaster at least once each year between 1982 and 2014 according to INSEE (1).

Moreover, in 2009, the risk of flooding affected 11% of the French population and housing.

National plans were then launched to protect the inhabitants of France such as the Predictable Natural Risks Prevention Plan (PPRN). It regulates and controls construction in areas exposed to climatic hazards such as floods (2).

The main solutions to deal with the floods that have been implemented so far are concrete. Widespread in France, these are raised relative to sea level in order to combat submersions.

The latter are so-called “long-term” solutions: they degrade the coastlines.

Eco-friendly innovations to make up for the onslaught of the waves

Protecting coastlines without damaging them is the challenge of designing environmentally friendly.

This is the case of the French company Wave Bumper. Created in 2017 in Biarritz, Wave Bumper launches its production of temporary removable. Created from composite materials leced by reusable bags, these allow for rapid installation and uninstall.

Like concrete, these removable can reduce the power of the waves. They then send them back to the ocean.

However, unlike concrete, their operation does not disrupt the flow of ocean currents and does not accelerate coastal erosion. Indeed, this technological prowess is allowed thanks to the short temporality of the. Romain CHAPRON, founder of Wave Bumper worked for 20 years in shipbuilding in composite materials before embarking on this project. Thanks to his awareness of coastal protection following the repeated storms of the winter of 2013-2014, he designed a new type of.

It was the city of Biarritz that first hosted the idea of Wave Bumper. The are installed between two tides when an alert is issued and then uninstalled and removed once the alert is lifted. Operating as well as traditional and respecting the nature of the coastlines, Wave Bumper is now aimed at all communities and actors vulnerable to ocean hazards.

A growing prevention concept

Local authorities are incorporating the Wave Bumper process into their plans to protect and safeguard coastlines and infrastructure in high-risk areas. Wave Bumper can now be part of the Predicted Natural Risk Prevention Plan (NPP) (2), Marine Submersion Risk Prevention Plans (PPR), Coastal Risk Prevention Plans (PPRL) (3) and the Flood Prevention Action Program (PAPI) (4).

Romain CHAPRON is evolving solutions to prevent natural disasters. Sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques. Wave Bumper generates sales of around 1.5 million euros (in 2019).

After conquering metropolitan France, the West Indies and Spain, Wave Bumper now extends over the entire seafront. Including Portugal and Belgium. The company plans to conquer the U.S. market, which is also a victim of countless natural accidents of the same order.

The proliferation of natural disasters has opened the door to an environmental protection market. In addition to curbing global warming, man must now find solutions to protect his world population with a new challenge to be taken into account this time: respect for the environment. The creation of temporary removable is only the first step towards combining these two issues. It remains to wait for the emergence of new innovations capable of relieving the environment of human activities.

Sources

Wave Bumper release

  1. Economic actors and the environment, 2017 edition of INSEE References:
  2. Predicted Natural Hazard Prevention Plan (NPP) of the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition
  3. Marine Submersion Risk Prevention Plans (PPR) and Coastal Risks (PPRL) of the Prefect of the Ministry, January 29, 2019
  4. Communities in Europe for the prevention of CEPRI’s flood risk
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