BlueTech, Decarbonisation, Infrastructure and Built EnvironmentECOncrete deploys greener, more resilient marine infrastructure
US & Canada
BlueTech, Decarbonisation, Infrastructure and Built Environment
- Founded in 2012
- HQ in Tel Aviv
- FTEs: 11-50
- Key clients/partners: Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC; Neptune, NJ and more communities; Island Global Yachting (IGY); Port of San Diego; Port of Rotterdam
Key executives: Dr Ido Sella PhD, CEO & Co-Founder: Marine Biologist with 20 years experience in ecological engineering
Sea levels are rising at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year, due to thermal expansion caused by warming of the ocean and the increased melting of land-based ice such as glaciers. This increase in sea levels is likely to accelerate coastal erosion. Eight of the ten largest cities in the world are near a coast, and coastal erosion is already estimated to cost $500 million every year in the US alone. Scalable, environmentally-responsible solutions are sorely needed to combat the threats accompanying rising tides.
ECOncrete has developed a bio-enhancing concrete technology that provides ecological advantages and superior structural performance for any marine infrastructure project. The technology meets international concrete standards (i.e., EN, BS, ASTM and AS standards) and integrates seamlessly into any project. It includes a multi-layered approach:
- The proprietary ECOncrete admix seals the concrete to improve impermeability and increases lifespan of the structure. The concrete composition also creates an environment beneficial for the colonization of the surface by marine organisms.
- The surface complexity and micro/macro design of the concrete elements are based on biological studies and biomimicry design principles. The design is adapted to any project’s local environment to support the natural development of local species.
The application of the technology results in a healthy ecosystem developing on the concrete, quickly generating a layer of bio-protection, strengthening and protecting the structure and reducing maintenance. The increased biodiversity also improves water quality and serves as a natural carbon sink, actively sequestering CO2 during the lifetime of the structure.
This approach ensures that the concrete works with, rather than against, their surrounding natural environment. This stands in stark contrast to the one-size-fits-all concrete blocks typically used in these contexts. “Nature does it better than we do,” Adi Neuman, head of design at ECOncrete, explains in Time.
One application of this concrete is shoreline protection, which helps protect communities from coastal erosion. ECOncrete’s product is also used to construct seawalls, moorings, and piles for waterfront infrastructure such as ports, marinas, and urban waterfronts. It also has offshore applications, helping protect cables and pipes while regenerating eroded seabed habitat. Since ECOncrete was founded in 2012, they have been working on R&D, commercialisation, and various projects including with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (2013), Port Everglades (2017), and the Port of Rotterdam (2018).
- Grow US and European sales teams, and scale operations to meet the demand of large ports and offshore industries.
- Launch a product that protects offshore wind turbines from erosion, helping enable the Biden Administration’s goal of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2030 (a thousand-fold increase relative to 2020 levels).
- Expand to new regions, including New Zealand and China.
Municipalities and port managers looking to use concrete that lasts longer and is better for the environment and local marine ecosystem.
The Port of San Diego in California is one of the largest ports on the US west coast, with a $9.4 billion economic impact. It is responsible for upwards of 70,000 (or one in thirty) jobs in San Diego County. The Port is protected from storm flooding and erosion using a traditional structure known as a riprack rock mound. However, this system does not foster a diverse habitat for marine life.
The Port engaged ECOncrete through its Blue Economy Incubator to install its COSTALOCK Tide Pool Armor: a series of 72 interlocking pieces of green concrete ‘armor’ units. This reinforces the structural protection of the Port while promoting the restoration of local ecosystems and repopulation of marine organisms.
“By mimicking natural rock pools with beautiful water retaining features, the project will sustain valuable marine life while coping with climate change and urbanization,” Commissioner Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, said in a statement.