Ido Sella and Shimrit Perkol-Finkel †
Concrete technology to encourage marine biodiversity
Finalist for the European Inventor Award 2022
The surface of the concrete traditionally used to build marine infrastructure such as seawalls and piers is too smooth for marine life - a completely alien world to shellfish and corals that flourish in crevices. As a result, harmful or invasive species take hold in these environments and threaten local ecosystems. Israeli entrepreneurs Ido Sella and Shimrit Perkol-Finkel set themselves an ambitious goal: completely rethink concrete. The result is ECOncrete®, a new type of marine concrete that reduces the environmental impact of structures such as seawalls and piers.
ECOncrete® contains additives that prevent chemicals leaching into (or from) the sea and is cast in moulds that create ridges, pores and microstructures on the concrete's surface to allow marine life to thrive. By providing a more neutral pH, the concrete encourages species such as barnacles, oysters and corals to attach to its surface. In turn, the creatures' skeletons act as structural reinforcement, creating concrete with a tensile strength of up to ten times that of normal concrete. It reduces the dominance of invasive species and acts as a carbon sink, storing a potential 120 g of carbon dioxide for every square metre of ECOncrete® per year.
Concrete solutions for marine challenges
Sella and Perkol-Finkel met as students at Tel Aviv University, where they both attained PhDs in zoology and shared a passion for protecting marine life. They founded ECOncrete® to commercialise their invention in 2012; to date, it has been used in over forty projects in ten countries. Sadly, Shimrit Perkol-Finkel passed away in a road accident in 2021.
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