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Temporary, portable flood barrier receives government funding for development

21 January 2013

A Bournemouth University graduate's company has received a £65,000 government grant to develop an innovative domestic flood defence product called 'FloodBrick'.

Simon Phelps
Simon Phelps

A company set up by a Bournemouth University (BU) graduate has received a government grant to develop its innovative 'FloodBrick' - a portable, temporary device that can be used to protect homes from rising water. 

Fluvial Innovations received around £65,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), after winning a competition for businesses developing technology to tackle flooding and climate change.

The grant will be used to develop and manufacture FloodBrick - a temporary and portable flood barrier which could replace sandbags in protecting homes and infrastructure from rising water.

BU graduate Simon Phelps, who is founder and managing director of Fluvial Innovations, said: “The whole thing about sandbags is that they don’t work – they make sandy water leak into properties and are really heavy, so need a lot of people to move them.

He added: “If it wasn’t for the grant, it would have been at least two years in the pipeline to develop the FloodBrick. We can now start working on bringing it to market.”

Simon studied Computer Aided Product Design at BU from 2001 to 2005, and set up Fluvial Innovations after developing a Floodstop product for his final year project.

The Floodstop is a lightweight and portable barrier that is constructed from interlocking units. These fill up with the rising floodwater, making them heavy enough to stay weighed down. They subsequently empty when the water recedes – meaning they are light enough to be carried away.

BU helped Simon to develop and commercialise the product and owns ten per cent of the company, which started life in the BU Innovation Centre and is now based in the Nuffield Industrial Estate, Poole, Dorset.

Simon said the company has gone from “strength to strength”, and now has clients as far afield as the US – as well as councils and the Environment Agency.

FloodBrick is stackable, allowing levels to be built up. The product is expected to be available by November this year.

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