At XLabs, the Advanced Floating Platforms team worked on an intergenerational approach to help improve our marinas and our connection to the ocean for the next 240 years – starting right here in Tāmaki Makaurau.
As an island nation that loves the oceans surrounding it, New Zealand has the highest per capita spend on marine-based activities. We are navigators, explorers and gatherers – seeking adventure, nourishment and enjoyment out on the open water. Marinas are how many of us access the ocean. But the current pontoons, walkways, fingers and berths are 90% styrofoam encased in 60-90mm of concrete. Not only do these materials create issues in the very nature of their manufacturing and decomposition when they’re broken up by storms, boats or simply old age — but they also attract and harbor invasive species, altering the natural biodiversity of Aotearoa’s eco-systems.
Advanced Floating Platforms is a business established to start solving these existing challenges by redesigning marina infrastructure. At XLabs, their team explored “how might we create a circular marina that uses advanced floating platforms to avoid polluting the ocean and help our native species?”
Other valuable moments in their journey:
- In learning about regenerative behaviours, the team explored directly involving and educating end-users and stakeholders to create a shared vision for circular marinas.
- By embedding intelligence with digital platforms and AI, they explored sourcing and sharing large quantities of material waste across a range of suppliers and makers that would otherwise go to landfill.
- By networking participation and making cross-industry connections, they developed a circular solution with the support and input of like-minded experts and businesses, including Plastics NZ, Scion, Toitū, Blender, ecostore and more.
“If we had the opportunity to buy a berth manufactured by Advanced Floating Platforms we would.”
Boat owners, Survey in Westhaven Marina
Circular design features:
- Primary floating walkways made of Green PE and each lasting 30-50 years, drawing down 4 tonnes of carbon for every tonne of HDPE and sinking 80-160T of CO2e per km.
- Finger keys (the walkways alongside the boats) made entirely from high grade, recycled and UV enhanced plastic that can be replaced every 15 years and recycled up to 12 times.
- Lighter in every sense, this design solution will be one-tenth of the weight of today’s concrete options, with lighter transportation and less ongoing disruption to marinas and our natural marine environment.
“We want to support Advanced Floating Platforms and will find them a site in the Marina for them to place a walkway and a series of fingers”
Kevin Lidgard, Head of Marina’s Panuku Auckland
“The system is linear - you make the pontoons, place them and then dispose of them - it’s hard to recycle the current materials and they deteriorate during use. Due to the lightweight design and possibility of material recycling in New Zealand, your product will enable the shift to a circular system - from manufacturing to leasing, to removing, recycling and replacing. We look forward to working with Advanced Floating Platforms to increase the resilience of their recycled polymer sheets by UV stabilisers, identifying suitable recycled plastic grades and supporting in-field testing.”
Marc Gaugler, Scion Scientist, Biopolymers and Chemicals
Momentum for this solution is building and its impact will be as widespread as its rollout, but the team is starting small with a first pilot right here in Auckland’s Westhaven Marina. Get in touch with founder, Kerry Martin, if you’d like to know more about the project and potential pilots.