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A floating island city fuelled entirely by green energy has landed a University of Portsmouth professor of engineering a place on the shortlist of ‘Britain’s Bright Ideas’ competition.

Professor Carl Ross from the Department of Mechanical and Design Engineering has reached the final five of Britain’s Bright Ideas, which launched a national search for energy-efficient ideas led by energy company Npower.

Ross believes that without drastic measures, by the year 2050 humankind is likely to suffer a disaster of biblical proportions.

He has written a paper in which he suggests that floating islands could provide extra space and produce enough environmentally friendly energy from waves, wind and the sun to support their needs.

He said: ‘There are many islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans that are only a few feet above sea level.

‘If global warming continues and the sea level rises by about 6.7 metres as predicted, millions of people will be displaced, together with their means of food supply.

‘Some 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water so it makes sense for humankind to colonise the oceans for its benefit.

‘If scientists and engineers are given the tools we can find a solution.’ The professor’s plan is for a city above sea level, supported on several concrete tubular pillars with a platform resting on the top made of glass fibre, which is 50 times stronger than concrete under compression.

Each island is designed to accommodate a population of around 150,000 and would incorporate all the facilities of a regular city such as schools, a hospital, leisure facilities, services, industrial complexes and shops.

Professor Ross said: ‘I’m thrilled to have reached this far in the Bright Ideas contest.

‘I’ve always wanted to transform one of my ideas into a full-blown invention so it’s great to have the support of some real experts.

‘Maybe in ten years everyone will be living on a floating-island city.’ Professor Ross joins a shortlist of ideas from garden-shed inventors up and down the country and his competition includes a bicycle-powered USB charger and a domestic water wheel.

The winner of the ‘Bright Ideas’ competition will be announced on 21 October and the idea will be brought to life in a Wallace and Gromit-style sketch that will go on display at the Science Museum in London.

University of Portsmouth

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