Spanish port to test if concrete infrastructure can be nature-friendly

(Photo: Allan Watt/flickr)

Concrete sea wall and armour units that are designed to be hospitable to marine life are to be tested at a Spanish port following the award of EU funding.

ECOncrete has won support from the European Commission Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation funding programme to enable a demonstration project to be set up at the Port of Vigo in Galicia.

The start-up, which is led by two marine biologists, produces concrete infrastructure designed to encourage regeneration of marine life. The units’ chemical composition, rough surface textures and nature-based 3-D designs have been designed to suit organisms such as oysters and kelp that encrust the infrastructure. The company says that this makes it stronger, biodiversity-positive, and an effective carbon sink.

The Living Ports project is intended to promote a shift away from ‘grey’ construction and towards nature-inclusive infrastructure, said ECOncrete.

The consortium is built of four partners from three countries: ECOncrete Tech, the project coordinator; the Port of Vigo; Cardama Shipyard, a Spanish shipbuilding and ship repair company; and Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Civil Engineering and Aquatic Resources Institutes.

Living Ports will include two demonstration sites. One is a 310m² ECOncrete sea wall with an underwater monitoring and community outreach deck developed by Cardama Shipyard.

The floating deck will be supported by five ECOncrete bio-enhancing moorings. The second involves 100 ECOncrete Tide Pool Armor units and ECO Armor Block units, which will provide coastal stabilisation as well as creating habitats.

During the three-year project (2021-2024), biological and structural monitoring will be led by DTU. An Italian team will also conduct first noise pollution reduction monitoring to investigate the effects of the enhanced marine growth that will take place on ECOncrete’s units.

Read more at The Construction Index