Architecture

Ocean Spiral underwater city designed to harness deep sea potential

Ocean Spiral underwater city d...
Ocean Spiral is an underwater city that seeks to harness the potential of the deep sea
Ocean Spiral is an underwater city that seeks to harness the potential of the deep sea
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Ocean Spiral is an underwater city that seeks to harness the potential of the deep sea
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Ocean Spiral is an underwater city that seeks to harness the potential of the deep sea
The Ocean Spiral features a sphere, known as the "Blue Garden"
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The Ocean Spiral features a sphere, known as the "Blue Garden"
The Blue Garden is 500 m (1,640 ft) in diameter
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The Blue Garden is 500 m (1,640 ft) in diameter
A spiral connects the Blue Garden to an "Earth Factory" on the sea-bed
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A spiral connects the Blue Garden to an "Earth Factory" on the sea-bed
The spiral contains facilities for generating power via ocean thermal energy conversion, producing food via deep sea aquaculture, and desalinating water
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The spiral contains facilities for generating power via ocean thermal energy conversion, producing food via deep sea aquaculture, and desalinating water
The top of the Blue Garden rises above the surface of the water
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The top of the Blue Garden rises above the surface of the water
A central tower is part of the Blue Garden's frame and helps to reinforce the structure
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A central tower is part of the Blue Garden's frame and helps to reinforce the structure
There is a walkway around the perimeter of the Blue Garden
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There is a walkway around the perimeter of the Blue Garden
The Blue Garden contains spaces for leisure
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The Blue Garden contains spaces for leisure
The Blue Garden contains 75 floors with spaces allocated for hospitality, residential, commercial and research purposes
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The Blue Garden contains 75 floors with spaces allocated for hospitality, residential, commercial and research purposes
The bottom of the Blue Garden is connected to the spiral section that leads down to the sea-bed
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The bottom of the Blue Garden is connected to the spiral section that leads down to the sea-bed
The spiral section reaches 3-4 km (1.9-2.5 mi) down to the sea-bed
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The spiral section reaches 3-4 km (1.9-2.5 mi) down to the sea-bed
The Earth Factory is connected to other similar satellite facilities
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The Earth Factory is connected to other similar satellite facilities

An increasing world population means more strain on resources, and requires increasingly innovative solutions. Japanese firm Shimizu has come up with one such idea. Ocean Spiral is an underwater city that seeks to make use of the ocean's rich resources.

Shimizu is no stranger to moonshot ideas. It has previously proposed a ring of solar panels around the moon's equator to generate electricity for Earth and a self-sufficient, carbon-negative floating city in the Pacific Ocean. Its most recent idea, however, is more similar to Phil Pauley's Sub-Biosphere 2 self-sustainable underwater habitat.

Shimizu says the basis for the concept is rooted in the huge potential of the deep sea and of the cycles that link in with the air, sea surface, and seafloor. The company outlines five main reasons for developing the project in the deep sea: there is potential for sourcing seafood, producing desalinated water, generating energy, treating carbon dioxide and extracting resources from the ocean and the seafloor.

The Ocean Spiral takes the form of a huge sphere known as the "Blue Garden." It's 500 m (1,640 ft) in diameter, floating for the most part just below the surface, but with its very top breaching the surface. This will contain 75 floors with spaces allocated for hospitality, residential, commercial and research purposes. It is expected to accommodate a population of 5,000, with 4,000 permanent residents and 1,000 visitors.

There is a walkway around the perimeter of the Blue Garden
There is a walkway around the perimeter of the Blue Garden

Access to the Blue Garden and the Ocean Spiral is through the "grand entrance" on the water's surface. The Blue Garden itself contains a huge atrium, hotel suites, an observation gondola, a sea park and a leisure and retail plaza. Temperature, humidity and oxygen levels are controlled inside.

Below the Blue Garden is a spiral that reaches 3-4 km (1.9-2.5 mi) to an "Earth Factory" on the sea-bed. The spiral accommodates the functions required for the Ocean Spiral complex to operate in the deep sea. Power is generated via ocean thermal energy conversion, food is produced via deep sea aquaculture, and water is desalinated. A monitoring facility is also located here and so too a port at which submarines can dock.

The Earth Factory is anchored to the sea-bed and is connected to similar satellite facilities via transport tunnels. These "factories" are used to store, treat and reuse carbon dioxide, as well as to cultivate and develop deep sea resources.

The Earth Factory is connected to other similar satellite facilities
The Earth Factory is connected to other similar satellite facilities

The basis for the construction of the Ocean Spiral is the Blue Garden's sphere shape. This was chosen to provide strength against the external water pressure. The sphere is further reinforced by a central internal tower. A frame for the sphere and its tower will be constructed using a resin concrete. The frame will be covered using triangular acrylic sheets measuring 50 m (164 ft) along the side, and reinforced using semi-transparent fiberglass cross-bracing ribs.

All construction is planned to take place on the surface of the ocean. Shimizu notes that the materials used and processes for construction are likely to be refined as the project moves forward, and through the ongoing development of technology.

The firm reportedly believes the project will cost in the region of ¥3 trillion (US$25.5 billion) and could be completed within 15 years.

Source: Shimizu

9 comments
Jeffrey A. Edwards
If an entrepreneur can propose a solar wind energy downdraft tower for the Arizona desert, why not? http://www.gizmag.com/solar-wind-energy-downdraft-tower/32607/
MattII
Because this is underwater?
Aross
Instead of finding new and innovative places to put people we need to find more innovative ways to slow and/or stop the population growth!
Stephen N Russell
Awesome, use this off Hawaii, Caribbean, Red Sea, Indian Ocean & Australia, PNG More jobs.
FollowTheFacts
...ideas of this nature just make me angry...."An increasing world population...." – ...if the problem is increasing population, maybe the solution could be something along the lines of decreasing the population....? ...and population IS "the problem"...and this is no solution but constitute a form of exacerbating the problem... ...and while moronic plans like this one are entertained and promoted, the oceans are under systematic and sustained assault in any number of ways... ...way to go Japan....
Dee Vee
I find it difficult to appreciate how obviously educated people could come up with this as a concept for progress. It is totally devoid of that nebulous ingredient " common sense. Imagine if a large ship collided with it during a cyclone or typhoon.
Soren
Bottom of sphere at least 450 m below surface => pressure difference = 45 bar = 45 kg/cm2. A trinangular acrylic sheet with 50 m sides has a surface area of 1250 m2 = 12500000 cm2. Total surface pressure per sheet = 45 kg/cm2 x 12500000 cm2 = 562500000 kg = 562,5 million metric tonnes. I'll just find somewhere else to stay.
Lumen
FollowTheFacts, and Aross: You couldn't be more wrong. While ideas like these are exciting to read about, the premise of a population growth problem to eventually yield a net loss in sustainable resources is a short-sighted and false one. Have you researched the fish protein and leafy-green yields of aquaponics? Research just one of these many projects operating for quite some time now, then conduct a ratio of daily per person nutritional intake yield by the usable square-footage of the aquaponics system, then multiply by 7.5 billion people. Then, when you stare aghast at the low square-footage figure, calculate it again to make sure you got the number right. Then repeat with another aquaponics project to ensure your low square-footage results are not an isolated fluke. The only conclusion to draw from the empirical data and scale calculation is that there is more than enough food production potential, required land area, and required energy resources to sustain the earth's population several times over. Ok, potable drinking water. Please view the Gizmag link for Wonka Water: http://www.gizmag.com/warka-water-from-air/35721/. Also, please view the comments section to read about Air Wells used by the Afghans for thousands of years. The financial savings for companies to reduce their energy costs are spurring actualized energy innovations left and right, many of which are featured on Gizmag. World population control requires control of the world population. Obviously, there are those who would stand to gain in immense power from such a despotic Orwellian strata. Rather than espouse their doublespeak, please share with others what has been shared with you today. God bless you both.
MohammadShafiq
If an underwater city is located near a deepwater oil reservoir with low-recovery potential (i.e. insufficient reservoir pressure), would it be able to extract these sources as fuel source (since it requires less pressure for them to recover the oil)? And since underwater pressure can also reach 1 kbar, can underwater city be incorporated with a chemical refinery that produces polyethylene if they are located near natural gas fields? The ethane can be cracked to feed into the reactor because the city itself is at atmospheric while the polyethylene reactor that require 100 bar can utilize pressure of the deep sea. And one last thing, since any combustion process produces carbon dioxide, can Sabatier reaction be done (utilizing hydrogen from cracking process) which also takes place about 10 bar?