Wind farms located offshore is a great asset in the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy. When wind turbines are placed asea “concrete mats” are placed around the bottom of the towers to protect them from strong tides etcetera. Oftentimes engineers use concrete mats made of large blocks. These blocks contain plastic and are considered to be, by environmental groups, marine litter. Now a start-up called ARC Marine’ might have come up with the solution to the problem.
ARC Marine’s Reef Cubes are made from recycled aggregate and sand which is a byproduct of the quarrying industry. According to the company, this reduces carbon emissions by 90% in comparison to the process of making “regular” concrete.
When the reef cubes are in the water they interlock, creating a large living space/coral reef for fish, crabs and lobsters. Thanks to the cubes porous surface marine plants easily establish and grow on the cubes. The goal for the cubes is to protect offshore installations and at the same time encourage marine biodiversity.
Tom Birbeck who is CEO and founder of ARC Marine calls the reef cubes “building blocks for the ocean” and explains to World Economic Forum that they were inspired by the belief that every offshore and coastal project can have a positive impact on ocean health.
That the worlds coral reefs are in grave danger is not news to anyone. ARC Marine says the reef cubes also will help to restore marine habitats devastated by human impacts on the environment. Birbeck says:
“Reef cubes accelerate reef creation and help repair ecosystems that have been destroyed from centuries of bottom trawling and dredging. The global increase in offshore wind demand provides an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild rocky reef habitats around offshore construction projects which historically have caused damage and often deploy toxic and plastic-laden materials.”
The team behind the Reef Cubes were shortlisted for the 2020 Offshore Achievement Awards oftentimes called “the offshore Oscars” for their work with the project.