The Port of Vigo in Galicia, Spain will pilot underwater concrete infrastructure designed to boost marine biodiversity.
Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation programme, the project will test bio-enhancing concrete sea-defence elements that are shaped to provide habitats for marine wildlife.
The elements are designed and manufactured by the Israeli marine infrastructure company ECOncrete, who is joined in the project by the port operator, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Civil Engineering and Aquatic Resources Institutes, and Spanish shipbuilder Cardama Shipyard.
Called ‘Living Ports’, the project sees the construction of a 310-sq-m ECOncrete sea wall and a floating, partially submerged observation deck that DTU researchers will use to monitor sea-life development over the period of the trial to 2024.
The public can also use the deck to view the sea wall. The deck will be built by Cardama Shipyard and will be anchored by five ECOncrete bio-enhancing mooring blocks whose impact on biodiversity will also be monitored.
In addition, 100 ECOncrete coastal stabilisation blocks will be placed and monitored by DTU for their effectiveness as sea defences and habitat creators.
"ECOncrete is enabling a revolution for marine ports, providing the tools to shift from focusing only on function and structural performance, to also focusing on benefitting the marine environment,"
said ECOncrete’s co-founder and chief executive Dr. Ido Sella.
Spokespersons for DTU said:
"The project creates the tools and documentation for next generation harbours that not only provide crucial infrastructure, but also become vital living spaces for a wide range of marine organisms."
The Port of San Diego in the US is also piloting ECOncrete elements (see further reading).
Top image: A hundred ECOncrete stabilisation blocks will be placed and monitored for their effectiveness as sea defences and habitat creators (ECOncrete)