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07 December 2018

LafargeHolcim partners on concrete solution for artificial reefs

First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com

LafargeHolcim has partnered with marine biodiversity solutions company Seaboost to develop concrete solutions for a project providing artificial reefs that will help support the marine ecosystem on the French Mediterranean coast.

Building materials provider LafargeHolcim and Seaboost, a subsidiary of the French Egis engineering group, say that the preservation of marine habitats is a pressing global issue, requiring urgent and innovative solutions on a major scale.

Marine habitats have suffered dramatic damage in recent decades, due to global warming and pollution, disturbing the balance of oceanic ecosystems as a whole.

An estimated quarter of the world's coral reefs have already suffered irreversible damage, and two-thirds are seriously threatened.

LafargeHolcim and Seaboost say that bio-active concretes for port infrastructures can be one important answer to improve aquatic ecosystems.

Their solution lies in both a tailor-made reef design as well as the special concrete formula used for its construction. The concrete mix-design and placing process patented by LafargeHolcim allows the formation of a dense bottom layer topped with a layer of porous concrete. The structural and chemical characteristics of this innovative concrete, as well as the reef’s design, were specifically defined to allow a rapid colonization by a great diversity of local marine animals and plants.

“We are delighted that our bio-active concrete solutions can help the preservation of marine wildlife," said Andreea Enescu, head of transport infrastructure markets at LafargeHolcim. "The roll-out of the current project demonstrates our commitment to drive global sustainable development. This is certainly a step forward for the new maritime bio-receptive infrastructures.”

The first reef units were immersed early in 2018 in the Mediterranean Sea and will be monitored over the next three years through acoustic, visual and photogrammetric measurements. The marine specialists involved in the evaluation of the site’s rehabilitation, confirm that the first results show promising signs of success. LafargeHolcim and Seaboost are currently working on other pilot projects around the globe to evaluate how the solution can be extended to other areas suffering from marine degradation.

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