Coastruction: Bio-active constructions for reef recovery

The new generation of nature-based 3D printed artificial reefs

With over half a billion people dependent on food production from coral reefs worldwide, their collapse is not just catastrophic for biodiversity – but also an economic disaster for humanity, explains Nadia Fani, Founder & CEO of Coastruction. The startup aims to facilitate reef recovery using an additive manufacturing process for complex shapes possibly using natural or recycled aggregate powders that create the potential for the regrowth of healthy coral colonies and ecosystem restoration.

Last updated: July 11, 2023 Rotterdam, Netherlands

By Nadia Fani, Founder & CEO, Coastruction

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The importance of corals

Coral reefs across the world are under relentless stress from warming caused by climate change and other local pressures such as overfishing, unsustainable coastal development and declining water quality. Around one third of all marine life present in our oceans lives with the coral reef, despite covering only 1% of the planet’s surface. Coral reefs are an important part of coastline protection because they reduce the energy of waves by 97%. They are a fundamental part of preventing flooding and erosion of the coastline.

New ways to support coral recovery

A new system of 3D printing of the artificial reef substrate using powder-bed process allows corals to grow faster and healthier, as well as providing habitat for more diverse marine life. The process allows different aggregate powders to be used in the printing process including recycled concrete, crushed sea shells, aragonite sand together with a binding agent. Other than extrusion-based processes and cast elements, the printed structure can be made of natural materials and allows for complex and porous structures, enabling better marine life growth.

Holcim Foundation Sounding Board

The Holcim Foundation Sounding Board enables built environment innovators to explore their ideas that challenge conventional building practices with industry-leading peers.

Coastruction design, produce and install 3D printed artificial reefs to help restoration of damaged reef systems and protect vulnerable coastlines.