Patent for Sale:

Pier delivering high profitability real estate & all its utilities    

The pier consists of a foundation for multistorey buildings combined with large scale Ice Thermal Storage relevant to Data Centers, District Cooling & large seafront real estate developments.


The key benefits of the pier are its ability to revolutionize the profitability of seafront building sites & facilitate building in the sea. Access by sea & access water depths above a few feet are optimal. In summary the pier could be used to “manufacture” apartment blocks, commercial buildings or Data Centers at the lowest cost point in the world, move them to point of sale & sell the real estate made at the highest priced sale location. It could do for US real estate developers what China has done for US retailers. Such offsite construction of real estate, offers major safety benefits as well as major savings in time and equity need over conventional approaches to construction at the point of sale.

The vendor has researched construction of examples of buildings on such piers, including basement car parking, offsite in dry docks or ship-building yards. This research includes data provided by Harland & Wolff, makers of the Titanic. Dry docks such as Harland & Wolff’s, could be used to make a building block with all its roads & utilities, up to 230 feet wide, up to 1750 feet long, 6 stories high at least, with its real estate ready for sale. Such a block could be made in Belfast & safely towed across the Atlantic using marine tugs. Smaller blocks could be made in the US, UK or Asia ready for sale & also transported on a heavy-lift ship to their waterfront point of sale. There, the blocks could be “plugged in” to local utility connections & roads with minimal environmental impacts from building. At least 90% of construction costs would be offsite, with the final development having close to zero carbon emissions. The vendor has identified some locations in New York City where such use would be fully compatible with the zoning.

The key to this is the massive strength of the patent pier. It was conceived for use in a floating bridge across the Irish Sea from Dublin Ireland to Wales Britain. The patent pier has structural capability, better than the recently upgraded Evergreen Point floating bridge near Seattle. This carries 70,000+ cars per day over Lake Washington, which has weather & water depths similar to the Irish Sea.

An additional benefit of the patent pier is its capacity to shift electricity demand for HVAC cooling from daytime peak to off-peak cost rates. This involves using large scale Ice Thermal Storage & is particularly useful for buildings such as Data Centers & District Cooling facilities. Ice Thermal Storage is an off-the-shelf technology in the US where many such facilities have been installed. This means the pier also can deliver a Data Center with environmentally attractive close to zero carbon emissions.

In summary the pier consists of a core of ice, maintained solid by refrigeration piping, refrigeration systems & power supply systems, armored on its base, all sides & topside by double walls of reinforced concrete. The pier can provide an earthquake resilient foundation for a building, and also provide its heating, ventilation & air conditioning system, with close to zero carbon emissions in a single entity. This approach results in saving land ashore resulting in more carbon reduction benefits, providing these & other environmental benefits, help to get consents, deliver advantages in construction & while delivering these benefits, also deliver higher real estate selling prices & lower construction costs.

The pier can deliver thermal storage capability for peak electricity demand reduction for cooling load, from 30 to 1500+ megawatt hours, for a Data Center, District Cooling facility or cooling as a service facility, at a waterfront or seafront, combined with structural foundations for the real estate involved, in a single competitive structure.

A pier together with its buildings is ideally made offsite & floated into place by tugs for waterfront or seafront locations. However it can also be made in situ for city center or industrial park locations.

Primary Application of the Technology

The primary application is to manufacture entire buildings, their foundations and all their roads and utilities, ready for sale, offsite, in a low cost dry dock or shipyard, move the block to a high priced location, fix it in place, connect the block to a prepared shore site with ready made roads & utility connections & immediately sell the real estate. A second application is to provide very large scale Ice Thermal Storage for Data Centers or District Cooling facilities, sufficient to shift 30+ MW of demand for electricity for cooling from daytime peak to off-peak charging rates.

The Problem Solved by the Technology

The problem solved is the problem of using ice as a structural material at locations where temperatures are above its melting point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice has the strength of lean mix concrete but costs a small fraction of its cost. To use ice as a structural material at above 32 degrees Fahrenheit necessitates refrigeration & insulation of the ice and protection from the environment. The patent pier does this in a way that results in the pier being able to deliver certifiable & insurable structural use of the ice. The patent pier also has the capability to use the heat from its refrigeration system in heating applications in buildings on the pier & to use a part of the same pier for the cooling needed for air conditioning, in a single certifiable & competitive structure.

How the Technology Solves the Problem

The technology provides a superior solution by stressing the ice only in compression. The competitor technology is to use rigid polystyrene foam. However this has carbon emission disadvantages & is inferior structurally to ice.

Competitive Advantage

The pier provides several major tangible benefits for a single cost. The first is land value at high priced waterfronts, the value of the earthquake resilient structural foundation provided. The second is the heating ventilation & air conditioning supply system for buildings on the pier built into the capital cost of the pier & its renewable electricity supply system, resulting in near zero carbon emission development. These & a number of other environmental & public realm benefits are projected to help get consents to build at waterfronts & in the sea.

The competition for the approach in the development land market is high rise development, land reclamation or a conventional pier at waterfronts. The patent pier is competitive with high rise because it enables a developer to turn over his equity faster & its earthquake resistance costs less. It has significant environmental & public realm advantages over low and medium rise development, land reclamation & conventional piers. In addition its capital & operating cost is lower than a conventional pier of the same structural capability. When renewable electricity is used as the power source for the pier systems as is planned, it can increase the amount of renewable electricity usable, particularly off peak electricity from intermittent sources such as wind turbines. The result can be a close to zero carbon emission development initially and in time an overall carbon sink.

The reason the technology is superior in providing large scale ice thermal storage for the large scale peak load shaving market is that the competition in this market is ice thermal storage tanks and they need a building to house them which adds to their cost.

The interplay of these advantages determines the locations & market sectors in which the technology is most profitable.

Comments on Deal Structure, Potential Terms and Restrictions

Licenses for exclusive use of the patents are for sale in the US by State, with full sub-licensing rights & with no restrictions on the source of any inputs needed. Sale terms sought are a low minimum & low % of pier cost royalty, with a rights buyout option. Support in commercial exploitation by the vendor will include drafting of sustainability rationales to support applications for building consents, technical standards, market research, provision of a spatial plan for a pier & provision of a detailed financial appraisal for a first waterfront development.

Subject to inventor availability, promotional assistance by the inventor will also be available up to the point of the purchaser obtaining the first full set of consents for a pre-commercial showcase apartment on a mini-pier & also consents for a first profitable full scale waterfront development. This support will be offered at one major waterfront or seafront city, in the US & in Europe,

The seller would like to be granted a license back.

The seller may consider selling these patents individually.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the technical risks in using the new technology?
The technology is a unique integration of mature technologies & there are no technical risks in the individual technical elements. There is a rationale for a pre-commercial scale demonstration of a mini-pier. As this could also function as a showcase for at least one office & apartment unit, this is recommended by & will be encouraged by the vendor.

Is the power to keep the ice solid not prohibitively expensive?
No, this power requirement is controlled to whatever level is desired by the insulation of the ice core using double walls with an insulating air gap. Any heat that leaks in is captured by the structural refrigeration system & can be used to heat the building on top, or in some other heating applications such as fish farming or aquaculture.

What happens if the renewable power source or the grid power source fails?
The standby diesel power system and the UPS system will ensure structural integrity.

If all power sources did fail, how long would it be before the ice core would reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit?
Recommended design temperature of the ice is 26 degrees Fahrenheit. If all power sources did fail, for the modular pier proposed, after about 60 days the average core temperature would reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit & some ice would start to melt.

If for whatever reason the power did fail for such a long period that all the structural ice melted what would happen?
If the main power and the standby diesel power and the UPS system failed & all failures lasted for over 200 days, the core in a standard sized pier would start to melt after about 60 days & could melt completely after about 200 days. However if that is foreseen as a possibility the pier topside and its building load can be designed to be able to float in the melt water. This feature also means that such a fixed pier could be designed to cope with rising sea levels, by deliberately doing this, raising the floating topside level supporting buildings & refreezing the pier core. This also could be done for fixed piers if sea levels actually rise as forecast. Piers can also be designed to float as ice is less dense than water & such floating piers will automatically rise & fall with tidal rise & fall & automatically rise as sea levels rise.

How does the pier cope with tidal rise & fall?
For such piers access is by a landing stage identical to those used by car ferries for getting cars & HGVs from shore to ship & back to shore.

Patent Summary

U.S. Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class 405: