Installing bubble curtains in the ocean is a relatively new technique with multiple applications that are becoming popular. In Scotland and England, bubble curtains offer a barrier to jellyfish that would otherwise block water intakes at nuclear power plants. Several countries now utilize bubble curtains to protect the public beaches from jellyfish, algae and other floating debris improving conditions for swimmers. The invasion of beaches by jellyfish is a growing global phenomenon due to climate change and the warming of the average temperature of the oceans.
Indeed, a bubble curtain is an effective and safe underwater physical barrier to prevent small marine organisms such as jellyfish from entering the periphery of designated areas. A length of Bubble Tubing® hose placed at the bottom of the sea creates a thick curtain of air bubbles that prevents the passage of debris and jellyfish into water intake pipes. This wall of bubbles can be installed and removed as required for seasonal use.
Bubble curtains are also an environmental solution to protect public beaches and ports from jellyfish and other floating debris. They create a visible barrier that clearly delineates the safe area established for swimming along the beaches. Indeed, the bubbles rising towards the surface create a movement that repels algae, jellyfish and other floating debris out of the bathing area. Since there are no mechanical parts or electricity in the water, bathers are safe with this technology and operational costs are lower since gravity and not motors are moving the air and water that prevents drifting.
Videos (click on the photos to see the video)
– Coastworks designed and installed a “bubble curtain” around the cooling water intakes at Hunterston Power Station. The bubbles prevent jellyfish from being sucked into the intakes and blocking the filters by “blowing” them gently to the surface.
– In the following video, even at high tide and with strong waves, the curtain of air bubbles remains effective. Land winds are sometimes challenging, and the bubble curtain is a little less effective in this situation, allowing some (but much less) debris to pass through the bubble barrier.
– Bubble curtains do not pose a safety risk. On the last video, a risk assessment consultant tested the air bubble curtains for their safety and to see if the water would retain its ability to carry swimmers when passing over the bubbles.
– In the first video, Albert and his sister help catch the jellyfish and put them on the outer side of the bubble curtain. Notice how the jellyfish is pushed back to the ocean instead of back to the beach.