Frequently asked questions
Globally, concrete is the source of approximately 8% of CO₂ emissions. It displaces native marine substrates with a smooth and toxic one that makes it difficult for life to bounce back. ECOncrete, however, is designed to encourage the growth of native and diverse species, like corals and oysters, while retaining traditional concrete’s structural properties. ECOncrete’s patented admix, texture agents, form liners, and molds create infrastructure that meets or exceeds the structural performance of standard concrete, while supporting marine life and creating an active carbon sink. Compared to traditional concrete, ECOncrete structures support up to 2X more biodiversity, 7X more carbon storage, and 16X better water quality, and have up to 10% greater compressive strength, and greater durability.
While both create habitat for marine life, artificial reefs do not serve a structural purpose. They are often added to projects to compensate for developments’ environmental impacts, increasing the concrete footprint on the seabed. With ECOncrete, builders can create environmental benefits directly on industry-standard infrastructure by inviting “ecosystem engineering” species to grow on the units. The ecosystems that flourish on ECOncrete help projects self-mitigate, and can reduce environmental penalties.
Bluestone or quarry rock are often used as a more natural building technique. The problem? The dense and homogeneous terrestrial rocks provide unnatural conditions compared to water retaining, structurally diverse marine rock, thereby encouraging invasive species and lower biodiversity. ECOncrete mimics natural coastal substrates from the chemistry to design features: complex textures help sedentary organisms grab on and grow, holes serve as shelter or breeding spaces (and aid contractors in casting and installation), and tidepool or cave-like features offer intertidal habitat generally missing from rocky coastal riprap.
ECOncrete offers a unique return on investment. Thanks to the biology that grows on ECOncrete’s solutions, projects can benefit from reduced environmental mitigation, faster permitting, and less long-term maintenance. In one U.S. project, including ECOncrete’s technology in breakwaters reduced mitigation penalties by approximately 80%, or about 14 million USD. These savings equaled nearly 15% of overall project costs.
ECOncrete admix and mold liners are manufactured at ECOncrete’s headquarters in Israel or through licensed manufacturing partners in Europe and the US, and shipped to project sites for on-site casting and installation. Local contractors can cast on-site by pouring ECOncrete’s admix directly into the concrete truck at the specified proportion.
ECOncrete’stechnology can be cast at the same rate as traditional concrete infrastructures. At one unit per mold per day, they conform to standard curing and demolding times, which vary depending on mix design.
Any marine infrastructure using ECOncrete’s technology can be cast on-site or precast and shipped to a site much like any other concrete.
Concrete units incorporating ECOncrete technology may be either steel or fiber reinforced depending on project requirements. ECOncrete’s admixture has been proven to reduce chloride penetration, serving to protect steel reinforcement members.
ECOncrete’s admix can be incorporated into any concrete coastal and marine infrastructure to achieve a stronger, ecologically-sensitive solution. The admix is composed of unique pozzolans and over 90% recycled and byproduct materials. The patented admix can be incorporated at a ratio of 10% of the cementitious material in mix designs using pozzolanic materials, fly ash, and GGBFS. Admix can be placed directly into the concrete mixer at the specified proportion.
ECOncrete’s patented admix mayimprove concrete’s compressive strength by up to 10%, increase freeze-thaw durability, reduce chloride penetration, and lengthen lifespans. The admix achieves these results in two ways: by improving the structural properties of the units and by encouraging marine life to develop on the concrete.
Incorporated at a ratio of 10% of the cementitious material, the admix is dispersed evenly throughout the unit to reduce permeability and create greater chloride ion resistance. By altering the concrete chemistry to make it hospitable to marine life, ECOncrete encourages settlement of species like oysters, corals, or tubeworms. The calcitic animals create a defensive layer called bioprotection, which buffers hydrodynamic and chemical forces and increases the longevity of the unit.
There are many industry players working to lower embodied carbon levels in concrete, yet these efforts are usually limited to the manufacturing process. ECOncrete goes beyond reducing carbon emissions and embodied carbon during manufacturing and actively stores CO₂ after installation. When combined with slag cement or fly ash, ECOncrete has up to 70% lower carbon footprint than traditional concrete. After installation, ECOncrete’s proprietary technology transforms marine concrete into a habitable surface, enabling marine life to grab on and begin growing. As the calcitic organisms, like oysters, tubeworms, and coral grow on the concrete, they absorb carbon dioxide from the water and assimilate it into their skeletons, storing it in a stable form. ECOncrete can store 300 grams of CO₂, per square meter, per year; for a 1km seawall, that’s equivalent to planting 100 adult trees every year.
ECOncrete’s admixture is predominantly composed of byproducts and recycled materials, and is up to 92% carbon neutral.
When incorporating slag cement or fly ash, Cconcrete mixtures using ECOncrete’s admix can have a carbon footprint that’s up to 70% lower than traditional Portland mixes: GGBS and/or fly ash replaces upwards of 60% of the additional cement content,; and ECOncrete’s admix replaces 10% of the mix.
After installation, ECOncrete enables the growth of a crust of calcitic organisms, like oysters, tubeworms, and corals. As they grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the water and assimilate it into their skeletons, storing the gas in a stable form. Through this process, ECOncrete supports an active carbon sink. The technology is capable of storing 300 grams of CO₂ per square meter, per year. To put that in perspective: if all the climate adaptation seawalls projected for US coasts by 2040 were built of ECOncrete, they would store the same amount of carbon as an area 20X the size of New York City covered entirely in tropical rainforest.
Invasive species easily and quickly adapt to new areas, reproduce quickly, and cause damage to the local economy, property, or native plants and animals. Outcompeting native flora and fauna, invasive species create a less biodiverse and therefore less resilient ecosystem. In multiple peer-reviewed studies by award-winning marine biologists, ECOncrete’s technology has proven it’s ability to reduce the dominance of invasive species. By mimicking natural marine surfaces, from the chemical level to macro-features, ECOncrete’s technology levels the playing field, and gives native species a chance to rebound.
Traditional concrete infrastructure tends to have low-biodiversity, a high dominance of opportunistic invasive species, and generally poor ecological function. ECOncrete’s admix seals the concrete, preventing toxins from leaching out and affecting the marine community that settles on the surface. While traditional concrete has smooth, flat plane designs, ECOncrete’s technology mimics natural marine rock with complex surface textures. This surface roughness provides marine larvae the micro-turbulences they need to grab on and grow into adult tubeworms, oysters, or corals. Traditional infrastructure ignores the lifestyles of their marine neighbors, but ECOncrete’s technology includes features such as tidepools, crevices, and holes that serve as shelter and breeding spaces for fish and other species.
Since 2012, the technology’s ecological and biological performance has been validated by universities, external parties, and ECOncrete’s marine biologists, led by the award-winning Ido Sella Ph.D. (ECOncrete CEO) and Shimrit Perkol-Finkel Ph.D. (1975-2021) in over 40 projects across 11 countries and 8 seas, resulting in over 10 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Compared to traditional concrete, ECOncrete increases biodiversity, improves water quality, and sequesters carbon.
ECOncrete’s technology has been installed and tested in a variety of marine conditions, and shown success in temperate, tropical, and estuarine ecosystems. In all pilot studies, ECOncrete installations have grown covered with life. Across studies and pilot installations, the technology increased biodiversity, increased the ratio of native species, and generated an active carbon sink through the growth of marine life. Eight peer-reviewed scientific papers have documented results in various ecosystems. See our case studies for specific examples.
ECOncrete’s team of marine biologists, as well as independent teams of biologists from partner organizations, have monitored installations for a variety of biological performance indicators, such as species richness, biodiversity, and biological build up. Many ECOncrete projects undergo at least 2 years of biological monitoring. ECOncrete marine biologists visit project sites and use standardized ecological surveying techniques to monitor indicators and track growth. ECOncrete reports biological findings in peer-reviewed research papers, often published in industry journals. For some installations, ecological monitoring is performed and reported by project stakeholders.
ECOncrete units have undergone testing at independent facilities. Freeze-thaw durability was tested and certified in accordance with ASTM C 1262-98 at the World Center for Concrete Technology (WCCT) in Michigan, USA. Chloride permeability was tested in accordance with ASTM C1202-12 with ECOncrete units showing significantly lower chloride permeability than traditional Portland cement and GGBS rich mixes. Compressive strength testing at WCCT showed up to 10% increase in compressive strength when ECOncrete admix was added as 10% of the weight of cementitious material in the mix.
ECOncrete’s technology complies with international constructive standards required for concrete mixing, including: SI 89; EN 934-1 2008; EN 934-2: 2009 + A1: 2012; ASTM C494 / C494M; AS 1478.1-2000 (R2018). Units using ECOncrete’s admix can be cast at the same rate as traditional concrete infrastructures and conform to standard curing and demolding times.
ECOncrete’s patented admix, incorporated at a ratio of 10% of the cementitious material, is dispersed evenly throughout the mix. Even dispersal creates a crystalline structure that strengthens the concrete and seals it, preventing toxins from leaching and creating greater chloride ion resistance. Because ECOncrete’s admix alters concrete chemistry to make it hospitable to marine life, an additional layer of protection forms. Calcitic species like barnacles and coralline algae encrust the concrete over time, creating a defensive layer called bioprotection. Bioprotection buffers hydrodynamic and chemical forces and further increases the longevity of the unit.
ECOncrete is continuously testing solutions across different applications. Because ECOncrete’s technology can be incorporated into any marine concrete, previously validated applications, such as any single layer armor units ( e.g. , XblocPlus), or other proprietary armoring units may not require unique testing. For ECOncrete-patented units or other custom and project-specific designs, testing can be conducted as required. For example, the hydrodynamic performance of ECOncrete’s Tide Pools and Armor Units was validated in 2D and 3D model testing in NRC in Canada as part of the design process of the Living Breakwaters project in New York. Maximum slopes depend on the unit in which ECOncrete’s technology is incorporated. For more details, send us a message.
Whether you’re building a breakwater or a bridge base, if it’s in the ocean, ECOncrete’s technology can be applied for groundbreaking structural and environmental results. Urban waterfronts, offshore projects, and shoreline protection schemes have integrated ECOncrete’s technology into solutions like floating pontoons, cable armoring, and bulkheads. Talk to us about your project’s needs, and we’ll work together to tailor a strong, ecological solution.
Any concrete marine infrastructure can be built with ECOncrete’s patented technology. By doing so, precast and cast-on-site units can not only comply with industry constructive standards, but also encourage the growth of marine life. Talk to us about bringing a solution to scale.
Talk to an ECOncrete engineer for fully detailed specifications.
Biologically enhancing admixture shall be included at a weight equivalent to 10% of the weight of the cementitious material in the mix. The accepted products shall demonstrate scientifically-proven enhanced ecological performance compared to standard Portland cement products including significant reduction in dominance of invasive species. Accepted products shall also have a track record in demonstrating biological and structural performance over time through demonstrated and recorded monitoring and analysis in peer-reviewed publications and reports, and shall comply with ASTM C494 / C494M – 17.
The surface of the ecologically enhanced “Specific Unit Type” will be manufactured with scientifically proven surface textures validated to enhance marine growth with a minimum of 2 years of supportable data. The surface texture shall be produced with mold liners fitted to the mold system as instructed by manufacturer guidelines and specifications. Biodegradable mold release agent that shall not deposit a residue that can affect biological growth on the concrete surface.
ECOncrete provides a technology to make any marine concrete ecologically beneficial and structurally superior. To integrate this technology, we provide consultation to stakeholders during design phases, supply appropriate solutions, guide manufacturing and installation, and can support performance monitoring.
The quick version: talk to us, and we’ll be in touch to explore your project. The longer version: ECOncrete provides admix, texture agents, and mold liners or molds for coastal and marine construction projects. This technology package can be sourced from licensed partners, or directly from ECOncrete. ECOncrete’s technology can be shipped to the project location for local contractors to cast units on-site. The best way to begin, is by getting in touch with us through the contact us page.
ECOncrete’s technology package of admix, texture agents, and mold liners or molds are quoted depending on project scale and the solutions required. Talk to us, and one of our engineers will work with you to deliver a quote for your project.
ECOncrete was founded to bridge the need for strong and secure coastlines, and the need to preserve marine ecosystems. By replacing barren “grey” concrete coastal and marine infrastructure with green solutions, we can transform our urban waterfronts, port structures, offshore energy infrastructure, and eroding coastlines into thriving, carbon-storing ecosystems with improved structural performance.
ECOncrete’s admixture, textures, and molding solutions are patent protected. Specific infrastructure solutions developed by the company are also patented.
ECOncrete was founded by award winning marine biologists Ido Sella Ph.D., and Shimrit Perkol-Finkel Ph.D. (1975-2021).
With over 20 years of experience in marine biology and ecology, Dr. Ido Sella is an industry leader in the ecological enhancement of coastal and marine infrastructure. The company he co-founded brings biological expertise to bridge coastal development and sustainability. Ido earned a Ph.D. in Zoology and an MSc in Ecology and Environmental Quality from Tel-Aviv University.
Shimrit Perkol-Finkel was ECOncrete’s CEO from 2012-2021, and an internationally recognized sustainability and domain leader. She tragically passed away in a 2021 traffic accident. Shimrit held a B.Sc. in Life Sciences, M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology from Tel-Aviv University, and conducted her Post-Doc at the University of Bologna as an EU Marie Curie Fellow. She was a mother of three daughters, and a beloved wife, sister, friend, and colleague.