CHICAGO, IL — LafargeHolcim announced last week that it will collaborate to design and produce an ecologically beneficial concrete scour protection unit for offshore wind turbine foundations ECOncrete Tech Ltd.
According to LafargeHolcim, the effort is not linked to the wind turbine construction to take place at the Port of Coeymans.
The Biden Administration set the goal of creating 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use, an effort which, to achieve sustainably, should use best available technologies to ensure the health of our marine environment and species. The scour protection developed by this partnership would be the first, and currently, only structural solution to address the ecological impacts of offshore wind turbines on the marine environment, enabling a more sustainable industry and healthier oceans.
Offshore wind turbines require massive concrete foundations to anchor them in place. Hydrodynamic forces can create large holes around foundations, necessitating scour protections. Scour protections are units designed to protect sediments from being swept away by currents, and are often installed in a mound to protect the turbines’ foundations. This kind of concrete infrastructure has a large impact on sensitive benthic, or seabed, ecosystems.
The goal will be to design and manufacture a fully-structural concrete scour protection unit that facilitates the growth of marine organisms, while meeting all industry standards for stabilizing the seabed. The R&D collaboration includes a large-scale pilot project to evaluate the ecological performance of the innovative units in an offshore environment before implementation in full-scale installations.
“Offshore energy production is a rapidly growing market worldwide, and while there are certainly benefits of using renewable energy, there is also an impact of these giant structures on the sensitive underwater ecosystems,” said Dr. Ido Sella, CEO and Co-Founder at ECOncrete Tech. “We view our collaboration with LafargeHolcim in the US as key to minimizing this impact.”
“For LafargeHolcim in the US, we recognize that there are many paths to achieving our net zero commitment, and most require innovative partnerships and out-of-the-box thinking,” said Josep Maset, VP, Commercial Excellence at LafargeHolcim in the US. “The work we’re doing with ECOncrete Tech is a notable example of searching for solutions that enable increased use of renewable energy in an environmentally responsible way.”
This three-year, joint R&D project began in May 2021 and is funded by a grant from the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program.
ECOncrete Tech is a concrete technology provider that brings, biodiversity, carbon storage, and superior structural performance to any marine infrastructure. Solutions using ECOncrete’s technology are quickly encrusted in rich marine life, like oysters and corals. This living layer not only makes concrete more durable, but also transforms ECOncrete’s industry-standard concrete into a self-mitigating, carbon storing structure. A healthy ecosystem grows on ECOncrete thanks to a patented technology package: admix alters concrete’s chemical composition; texture agents create complex surfaces; and molds or mold liners enable nature-inclusive structural designs. These technologies have been seamlessly integrated in 40+ projects across 8 countries and 6 seas, cost-effectively and with a unique return on investment. With ECOncrete infrastructure, waterfront assets like ports, shoreline communities at risk of erosion and flooding, and diverse offshore construction applications can be built responsibly.
As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less.
LafargeHolcim in the US, a subsidiary of Holcim, includes close to 350 sites in 43 states and employs 7,000 people. Our customers rely on us to help them design and build better communities with innovative solutions that deliver structural integrity and eco-efficiency.