SCOUTING FOR LAUNCH SITES ON THE SOUTH COAST - This derelict scrubland was thought to be a potential site for launch of the SeaVax prototype ocean (and river) cleaning boat- but after several meetings we soon realized that the trustees wanted the site left as it is. During the First World War, Newhaven was a major supply port for the Western Front. Seaplanes from Newhaven would patrol the sea between Dungeness and the Isle of Wight, looking for U Boats that might be lying in wait to torpedo allied merchant navy ships.
OUR PROGRESS DEPENDS ENTIRELY ON FUNDING - No matter how much we want to do this and how diligently our team think things through to make SeaVax economically attractive, at the end of the day, all of that planning is just wishful thinking without the ability to pay for our overheads, staff and equipment - to be able to turn a concept into reality.
Many of you will know that as a start up company with 'not-for-profit' objectives, that we do not qualify for funding under European initiatives such as Horizon 2020; though this is a typical route for collaborative development for social projects such as medical cures. We are not then funded by any UK or EU government or state operated organization, relying totally on volunteers and gift items until May of 2016.
Being research for an intended product without a customer, business funding via banks and venture capital is also unavailable. Worse, by attempting to equity fund the project, we would put 'SeaVax' at risk as to a takeover when the concept would not be developed for the good of the planet; but for profit. Venture capital firms usually insist on layers of management that would drive the investment required sky high - and take over a project at the earliest opportunity to float it as a going concern - after all the hard work has been accomplished. In this instance, we don't think such strategy would succeed in any event.
Fortunately, in March 2016 50,000 people around the world recognized the value of our work, responding to a global two-week, crowd funding campaign organized by Avaaz, a global community that supports social causes, one of the most important being climate change. Sufficient funds were raised to see us complete Phase I and aim for Phase II of "Operation SeaNet." Phase I was to take a concept from the drawing board to a "proof of concept" test model in 1/20th scale.
There will be some roll-over, or parallel running during the transition from Phase I to Phase II, and so on. The timetable is directly linked to funding and obstacles to be met and overcome. If funding is not achieved for any unit of work, the whole timetable will roll back and all efforts will go to sourcing financial help to enable development to proceed. The same applies to potential obstacles. Please then, help us if you can. This applies as much to individuals giving donations as to suppliers of materials and parts.
Our strategy is to take the few resources we have, and with the good will of the people, forge them into an efficient unit that can make good things happen. You will see from the timetables below that we have steadily increased the scope for our research, such that we have the space and facilities to be able to test SeaVax theory to be able to proceed to the next stages.
We aim to continue to build on our present abilities so as to be able to manufacture, launch and test a SeaVax prototype vessel. We cannot thank those of you who have helped to make all this possible enough.
PHASE II - EXPENSES/PURCHASES: JANUARY TO MAY 2016 (LOSS): £ 1,490.07
PHASE II - PROOF OF CONCEPT - TEST TANK JUNE 2016 - 2017 - YEAR TOTAL: £18,061.03 (@ Oct 31 2016)*
We have costed out the 'Test Tank' and 'Robot Laboratory' separately for contractual reasons, but in reality the two (sub) projects are interrelated, such that one could not exist without the other - for example there is a walkway between the two sections that needed to be improved so that transporting between facilities is safe and practical. In the Robot Lab costings for 2016 we have also included most of the cost of refurbishing our event/tour wagon.
There has been some over-run on our original estimates, but then the facilities are more user-friendly as a result and better secured to allow us to complete experiments faster in the long-term. We hope that those who contributed to the SeaVax™ project will agree that we have achieved considerably more as a not-for-profit on a small budget compared to other research and development houses with budgets up to 100 times ours.
PHASE II - PROOF OF CONCEPT - ROBOTICS LAB 2016 - 2017 - YEAR TOTAL: £68,824.82 (@ Oct 31 2016)*
PHASE II - SEAVAX PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT: 2016 - 2017 - YEAR TOTAL: £6,990.00 (@ Oct 31 2016)*
* Some purchases for which invoices trailed orders are not included in these "interim" figures. Adjustment is made on an "as received" basis and should be allowed for in any reckoning - save for the final accounts in relation and with particular reference to Avaaz funding, where a gate closes and may not be adjusted under slip rules. Monies that are not exhausted from crowd funding will be returned (presumably) for redistribution to other worthy causes.
OPTIONS FOR 2017
At the close of Phase II we will have built and tested a 1/20th AmphiMax launcher provided that funding continues until April 2017 (Ignoring any return of grant for now). This leads us into Phase III, the assembly of the full size AmphiMax or at least the development of the full size chassis segments and the control hydraulics, etc.
Phase III can proceed at less of a breakneck pace, perhaps with a crowd funding booster in May 2017 using part time volunteers. Phase III can also go ahead at a faster pace if there is additional funding from (for example) corporate sponsors.
A further option for Phase III is the possibility of collaborative research within the EU. Until 2016, there were no calls for Blue Growth or Food Security, then between February and October, Australia and NineSigma rolled out their Blue Economy Challenge. BMS attended one associated event in London in connection with this call, but it did not fit with our concept being aquaculture oriented and with low value grants. Indeed, all the prize winners were connected with fish farming research or business - ocean cleaning did not get a look in.
EU BID HORIZON 2020 COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH 2017 - currently being formulated/negotiated ..... with a deadline of February 16 2017 for a completed application. This funding option takes a different development course, focusing on robotics, drives, controls and satellite operations - and is over a much longer development period..
Then in October the EU issued a call for 'Blue Green Growth' under their Horizon 2020 initiatives for 2016. BMS could not afford to form or lead a consortium, even though the call is on-point as to plastic pollution, collection and re-use. We are though eligible to join a consortium with a mature leader and strong associates. Such a liaison may allow us to concentrate on the robotics element, while also developing and refining the SeaVax concept. In order to qualify for funding, and although BMS is operating on a not-for-profit basis (as in no share dividends or profits from sales), BMS is looking to convert to a not-for-profit concern with supporting articles in which there will be no shareholders or shares at all - such as to eliminate that as a potential obstacle to funding.
ACCELERATED FUNDING (blue sky)
The Phase III timetables below are projected here assuming accelerated funding, such as to allow us to engage subcontractors and to pay for full time staff. With grant (crowd) funding alone these time estimates will be more than double, for example two or even three years until launch of a SeaVax prototype - and even then the robotics would have to catch up with the build of the physical vessel. Whatever the future holds for SeaVax, we will continue to do the best we can with what we have.
Any advanced project director will know that cost and schedule are directly related to each other. It is difficult to assess the impact of changing one of the elements on the other when costing a project, but what we can say for sure is that without the means to begin the work, modules as laid out in the tables above; this project will stall. We can confirm that our load schedules are paying dividends showing development progress in direct proportion to the crowd funding received.
These timetables are assessed as high risk as Schedule Risk Assessments (SRA) go, but then there are only gains from setting high targets, even if they are not realized within the allotted timeframe - they will be achieved. Now is not the time for weak management. The Cleaner Oceans challenge requires bold leadership if it is to stand any chance at all of succeeding before we irreversibly damage the marine environment.
PHASE IV - OVERHEADS: 2018 - 2019 (P.O.A.)
SCHEDULES - Please bear in mind that these are active until a date has been reached, or an objective achieved - hence forward projections are to be treated as work in progress and targets to aim for. Operation SeaNet is a funding driven project with not-for-profit objectives. Donating money to this project is the only way to help us get SeaVax on the water. Contributions in kind are also welcome. Money is only a tool in our arsenal to be able to make things happen.
OPPORTUNITY - We're on a voyage of discovery. What will we find beyond launch? For sure, we will know a lot more about ocean plastic recovery than we know at present. Copyright © April 19 2016, all rights reserved. You will need permission from Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd to reproduce this photograph.
LINKS & REFERENCE