NEW YORK — Holcim US announced the successful deployment of its Droplock Ecological Scour Protection product, protecting offshore wind projects 12 miles off the shore of Long Island.
Approximately 4,000 concrete units were manufactured earlier in August after a two-year joint research and development project to provide offshore wind projects with ecological scour protection began last May. The project was funded by the Binational Industrial Research and Development Energy Foundation with the participation of the US Department of Energy.
“Renewable energy from wind is a critical part of building a more sustainable world and our Net Zero commitments. We also recognize wind generation needs to be built in a way that minimizes the ecological and environmental impacts,” said Michael LeMonds, VP, Environment, Land & Public Affairs at Holcim US. “Meeting our renewable energy goals together with ECOncrete Tech shows how an innovative approach using well-established building materials can protect natural habitats and help them flourish.”
ECOncrete Tech Ltd., global provider for bio-enhancing concrete technology, partnered with Holcim US, the country’s leading cement producer. According to a Holcim US statement, the two companies “are redefining offshore scour protection through the development of a novel concrete unit.”
“The unit’s ecological properties mimic natural marine habitats’ features while providing the armoring functionality required for scour protection,” said Dr. Ido Sella, CEO and Co-Founder at ECOncrete Tech. “Offshore wind projects that integrate nature-inclusive technologies are able to gain ecosystem services not achievable before. The ecological uplift and long term functionality of ecologically sensitive solutions can mitigate some of the associated impacts of offshore infrastructure. The ecological performance will be verified through comprehensive scientific monitoring comparing the bio-enhanced system to the standard rock based scour protection to set new industry standards for responsible construction.”
This project provides the first and only structural solution that benefits both foundation resiliency and the local marine ecosystem. In a recent technical report, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recommended ECOncrete’s nature-based design for cable protection and scour protection. ECOncrete technology is also featured in the Wind Energy Monitoring & Mitigation Technologies Tool developed by the International Energy Agency Wind Task 34 (WREN), the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as in the Dutch government nature inclusive design catalog for offshore wind infrastructure. The ECOncrete and Holcim partnership aims to ensure that offshore wind reaches its maximum potential to generate clean energy without compromising the health of the environment.
Holcim said each unit requires up to 30 percent less material, minimizing native habitat degradation and supporting ecological uplift in offshore wind projects.
“This deployment of materials is exciting and timely,” said Carl LoBue, Ocean Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy believes there is great potential in intentionally designing and constructing materials used in offshore wind energy development in ways that are intended to create habitat for fish and other marine life.”