Signaling a move away from “gray” coastal and marine construction toward environmentally friendly infrastructure, a consortium that included Israel-based ECOncrete won European Commission Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation funding for a large-scale “Living Ports” demo project at the Port of Vigo, Galicia, Spain.

The Port of Vigo is one of Europe’s most important fishing ports.

The start-up, which is led by two marine biologists, produces and infrastructure designed to encourage regeneration of marine life.

The consortium has three additional partners: the Port of Vigo, Spanish shipbuilding and ship repair company Cardama Shipyard and Technical University of Denmark’s Civil Engineering and Aquatic Resources Institutes.

Living Ports will include an ECOncrete seawall, an underwater monitoring and floating observation deck supported by five ECOncrete bio-enhancing moorings, plus ECOncrete Tide Pool Armor units and ECO Armor Block units for coastal stabilization and habitat creation.

Port of Vigo, Spain, (José M. Alarcón /Unsplash)

Visitors will be able to view the biodiversity growing on ECOncrete’s seawalls above and below water.

The project is anticipated to help Port of Vigo fulfill its commitment to reach zero carbon emissions in 2030. It’s the biggest fishing port in the world, and one of the busiest transportation ports on the northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

ECOncrete is building eco-friendly marine infrastructure at the Port of Vigo, Spain. (Photo courtesy of ECOncrete)

During the three-year project, biological and structural monitoring will be led by DTU. An Italian expert team will conduct first-of-a-kind noise-pollution reduction monitoring, associated with enhanced marine growth on ECOncrete’s units.

“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 benefiting the marine environment,” said ECOncrete’s cofounder, CEO and project coordinator Ido Sella. “Living Ports will be an iconic example for nature-inclusive port infrastructure: an active waterfront that also serves as a thriving habitat and a community focal point,” he said.

“With the Living Ports project, DTU and their international collaborators are at the forefront of future harbor developments,” said DTU’s Wolfgang Kunther and Jon Svendsen. “The project creates the tools and documentation for next-generation harbors that not only provide crucial infrastructure, but also become vital living spaces for a wide range of marine organisms.”

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