ECOncrete Turns Marine Infrastructures Into Thriving Natural Ecosystems
ECOncrete succeeds in making coastlines less disruptive to marine ecosystems by replacing intrusive concrete structures (like seafloor mats and seawalls) with products that blend in with their surroundings. It accomplishes this through biomimicry – a technique that relies on the textures, shapes, and sizes of natural systems to dictate how a product is built. The result is a bio-enhancing material that helps marine life thrive.
Over 50% of the world’s population lives in coastal areas. Unfortunately, the resulting development has placed severe stress on natural ecosystems. Most marine infrastructures (such as breakwaters, seawalls, and piers) are made from concrete, disrupting the fragile balance that supports thriving oceans.
They are designed and built with no consideration for marine life. The flat, smooth surface and chemical composition of concrete structures are not surrogate to natural substrates like oysters and coral reefs. To make matters worse, the increased storminess and growing threat of sea-level rise make it necessary for coastal urban environments to retrofit and develop the land further.
Israeli marine biologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella have witnessed firsthand the extent of environmental damage that human activity creates along coastlines globally. They specialize in ecological engineering and nature-inspired solutions. Together, they founded ECOncrete as a practical, scalable, environmentally sensitive solution to reduce marine infrastructure’s environmental footprint.
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Note: The Ray C. Anderson Foundation and the Biomimicry Institute presented ECOncrete with the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize in 2020.