LafargeHolcim and specialty precast developer ECOncrete Tech Ltd. are teaming to design and fabricate scour protection units equal to offshore wind turbine foundations’ hydrodynamic loads, configured to facilitate marine organism growth, and meeting seabed stabilization standards. Their three-year research & development effort envisions a pilot project to evaluate units’ ecological performance in an offshore environment, ahead of 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 structures on sensitive underwater ecosystems,” says ECOncrete Tech Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Ido Sella. “We view our collaboration with LafargeHolcim in the U.S. as key to minimizing this impact.”
“We recognize there are many paths to achieving our net zero commitment, and most require innovative partnerships and out-of-the-box thinking,” adds LafargeHolcim Vice President, Commercial Excellence Josep Maset, invoking parent company Holcim AG’s stand on carbon dioxide emissions reduction through 2050. “The work with ECOncrete Tech is a notable example of searching for solutions that enable increased use of renewable energy in an environmentally responsible way.”
A White House goal of creating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind turbine-derived power by 2030 calls for protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use—goals hinging on technologies for sustaining marine environment and species. The scour protection that LafargeHolcim and ECOncrete target would be the first structural solution to address turbines’ ecological impacts on the marine environment.
Through a New York City office, Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete Tech has a five-year record of demonstrating marine organism-friendly precast concrete concepts, owing especially to New York Harbor, Long Island Sound and Port of San Diego block installations. Work with LafargeHolcim commenced earlier this year under a grant from the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) program, supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Israel Ministry of Economy and Industry/Office of the Chief Scientist. A 2016 BIRD grant helped usher ECOncrete Tech into the North American market, Besser Co. its inaugural R&D partner.
LafargeHolcim and ECOncrete Tech researchers will pursue precast scour protection units that prevent currents from sweeping away sediments and resist the hydrodynamic force-rooted formation of holes around turbine foundations.