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February 8, 2019 2:42 pm

Tel Aviv Uses Underwater Concrete Structures to Increase Marine Biodiversity

avatar by Tofi Stoler / CTech

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The Tel Aviv coastline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – Tel Aviv is using underwater concrete structures to increase marine biodiversity in one of its shores. To do so, Atarim Group, a city owned corporation in charge of developing Tel Aviv’s coastline areas, has partnered with Israel-based startup ECOncrete Tech, which develops eco-friendly underwater structures.

Earlier this week, the city placed three of ECOncrete’s tide pool units in the waters surrounding the Jaffa port, ECOncrete’s co-founder and CEO Shimrit Perkol-Finkel said in a phone interview with Calcalist Thursday. Perkol-Finkel announced the project in a LinkedIn post Tuesday.

Founded in 2012 by Perkol-Finkel and Ido Sella, both marine ecologists, ECOncrete manufactures concrete structures that accelerate the growth of marine plants and animals, including fish, coral reefs, seaweed and sea anemones.

ECOncrete’s products—sea mattresses, seawalls, and tide pools—are meant to be integrated into critical shoreline infrastructures, such as breakwaters, ports, docks and underwater pipelines. ECOncrete developed a bio-enhancing material, which it adds to its concrete mix to reduce carbon footprint and encourage fauna and flora growth. The structures are designed with crevices and textures that mimic natural surfaces such as rocks to encourage living organisms to develop on their surface.

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The biological layer also protects the infrastructure from corrosion and erosion, reducing the need for future repairs, Perkol-Finkel said.

ECOncrete’s underwater products are currently installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the Port of Rotterdam, at Israel’s Herzliya Marina and at a military naval base in Haifa.

ECOncrete employs 16 people in offices in Tel Aviv, the US, and Europe. The company has raised about $5 million to date, according to Perkol-Finkel. Investors include Israel-based investment fund Elah Fund and Tel Aviv-based real estate company Azoury Brothers.

ECOncrete also manufactures “biological walls” that encourage the growth of moss and other plants without requiring soil. Such walls are already installed in a Tel Aviv tower and at a government office building in Jerusalem. ECOncrete is currently in negotiations with Tel Aviv to set up a wall in one of the city’s public areas, Perkol-Finkel said.

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