I Can Sea for Miles
I Can Sea for Miles
Author : Kelly Louiseize
Editor : Jennifer J. Lacelle
Date : June 28, 2021
Imagine going to sleep under the stars or rising to have a cup of coffee on the patio overlooking the vast ocean with dolphins playing below like children. It sounds fantastic and for Grant Romundt, it wasn’t a consideration until he met Rüdiger (Rudy) Koch on a plane bound for Thailand.
He showed Grant his engineering project photos, a basic house sitting on a large pedestal in the Indian Ocean and although it was nothing pretty, Grant saw its potential. “It really was a diamond in the rough,” Grant Romundt says. After the retreat Grant rejoined Rudy and over the subsequent months, he and Romundt formed- Ocean Builders.
An acquaintance introduced Grant to Koen Olthuis, an aqua-architect from Holland, at a Singapore engagement. It wasn’t long before Koen began scratching out a basic design of a SeaPod home on paper. That was in 2019 and today at their manufacturing plant in Linton Bay, two hours outside Panama, they are preparing the finishing touches to the stem of the SeaPod that will be submersed in the marina mid-July. The mild electric current through the stem’s steel helps to draw calcium carbonate out of the water and forms a protective layer around its pedestal. It is a process many ships use to ward off rust.
This is something that fish and coral love, Romundt says, because it brings the calcium to them. Much more fish exist around the one-third scale protype erected along the Thailand shallows. “Fish love having their backs covered so we can make those small holes in the foundation to create a habitat.”
Next will come the actual construction of the 833-square foot home with 1,200 cubic meters of space, 578.45 ft of windows, water and sewage recycling systems and state-of-the-art technology.
“I will live there as much as I can, but it is going to be a couple days here, couple days there because everyone wants to try it,” says Romundt.
It will be the model home to show interested buyers what it would be like to live at sea without bobbing around in the swells. “Once you experience it, it’s hard not to fall in love with it.
It is really nice being on a boat, but you have to conserve on water and space, make so many sacrifices that it is not quite the lifestyle one attributes to on land.”
”The exterior of the stem consists of three one-meter diameter, environmentally friendly tubes, 12 meters long that disperse weight load so there is little movement in inclement weather. “
The SeaPod is designed to take up to five-meter waves. It isn’t nice to live in those conditions so we try to pick places where there isn’t that potential. Deeper Pods can be engineered to take on larger waves but again it isn’t pleasurable living.”
A door at the stem’s base opens to a six-meter-wide spiraling staircase to the living room. Elevators have yet to be devised but Grant does see it as part of their advancements.
Right now, it will be enough to get the pedestal in place and follow it up with the pod. “This is a long, painful process since we are figuring things out as we go along.
It’s all well and good on a computer but adjustments are required. We would like to get to the point that we can 3D print the SeaPod but the technology just isn’t there right now.” Once they have worked out the bugs and Ocean Builders is operational, Romundt anticipates one maybe two pods will be built each month.
It’s a learn-as-you-go process and for that reason they want to take their time. “We are trying to have something available at $195,000 (USD). This was a number we were trying hard to keep to, but it is getting harder with the supply costs.”
He expects the first full model will determine the final tally. Companies including Nebia, Walls, Showerloop, which recycles shower water, and Dupont’s Corian material will certainly play apart in the coming years. For Romundt, he is content to work methodically until the SeaPod is refined to perfection.
“I am more determined and I work until the job gets done.”
Educated at the University of Western in economics, Grant has always been an entrepreneur and stayed in school until he had his first business fully operational.
“I would never pull all-nighters for school but would pull all-nighters for the things I am interested in.” He moved to San Francisco and roomed with six other young men who later co-founded PayPal.
They were all committed to their own technology startups. Grant developed software for the beauty industry. What initially took 17 hours out of his day, seven days a week for five years became a fluid operation that asks for five hours of his time each month
“I slowly got the hours down to a manageable number. It took five years, but it was a question of figuring out how to do it and getting the right people in place. “
NFC Rings will be the lock and key. It will have a proprietary system to help turn lights on and off, shower on, or any SeaPod devices. With no hurricanes in their weather, Panama is a perfect place to set up water communities, he suggested.
So too is Venice and New York. In fact, cities along major shorelines like Miami may benefit from SeaPods because the stem does not sink into the earth but hovers above it with a balance of dispersed weight.