Archireef has developed the world’s first-ever biomimetic, artificial reef tile — promoting coral survivorship and growth in an environmentally friendly, adaptive and scalable way.
Coral reefs offer a wide range of lifeforms and colors.
They are a living, spectacular window into the underwater world. Aside from this, they also play a
Essential role in the sustainability of our planet: Even though it covers less than one percent
They provide vital ecosystems for more than 25% of the ocean floor
Marine life is a source of millions of jobs around the world and helps protect coastlines against storms.
local communities, and provide a vital food source.
All this leads to their continued degradation.
All the more alarming: Climate Change, Overfishing, and other types of Pollution
Increasing sea temperatures
have killed 14 percent of the world’s
The last ten years; and the 90th.
Without drastic action, they are expected to disappear by 2050.
With the 2020s designated the “Ecosystems in the Decade
Restoration” by the UNYour efforts will be appreciated
In order to save our many vital resources, we are coordinating efforts around the globe
planet’s biodiversity — and coral reefs have inspired action on a variety of
fronts. Recent efforts include public awareness
From Adobe And PantoneCompanies such as CVS Health Eliminating
Use sunscreens Ørsted’s ReCoral
— a world-first attempt to implement a non-invasive approach for collecting
For healthy coral, surplus coral spawn is deposited as it washes up on the shore.
Colonies on the foundations nearby offshore wind turbines
It is possible to join the fray. Hong-Kong The company is a based in
Archireef — one of a growing group of startup innovators
That are using biomimetic
To solve a variety of crucial sustainability and climate-related problems.
How to build and define a regenerative enterprise
How do we build truly regenerative systems. Get our new report The Road to Regeneration to learn the principles behind regenerative business as well as how to put it into practice.
“I have always been an active diver and have felt very connected with nature.
When I began to notice coral patches disappearing in as fast as two weeks, it was then that I knew something was wrong.
months, I started thinking, what can I do?” Archireef CEO and co-founder Vriko
Yu Submitted Sustainable
Brands®. “I’m a science student, so I’ve always known coral disappears;
It happened so fast, but I didn’t expect it. Since then I’ve been trying to find ways to make it happen.
to accelerate coral reef recovery.”
Yu, a marine biologist who is also an entrepreneur, founded Archireef.
David Baker, a marine
Associate Professor of Ecology & Biodiversity, University of California at Berkeley.
University of Hong Kong. With their marine biologists team,
Computer scientists and designers have found a revolutionary way to communicate with one another.
By creating a welcoming environment, you can accelerate the restoration of marine ecosystems.
coral to grow using 3D-printed terracotta tiles — which Yu says are four times
More effective in keeping corals healthy than traditional restoration techniques.
“We like to put it as an analogy — that we are tiling the sea floor for coral,
building the infrastructure for them,” she explains. “Corals are the best
We put the first building blocks down by architects.
provide a foundation for them to reclaim the areas where they used to exist.”
Video by Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation
The tiles mimic the natural shapes of naturally occurring tiles platygyra
(brain coral). The brain design helps to prevent a primary stressor for corals —
Sedimentation can lead to coral death and impair their ability for food production.
The tiles can be used to grow and reproduce. The tiles capture sedimentation and are designed to be used in a variety of applications.
crevices, and the benefit of the movement of underwater currents.
“The microturbulence that is generated from increased wave movement actually
Encourages self-cleaning the reef tiles to remove any dirt.
accumulate on the top,” Yu explains.
The brain coral design is very attractive to marine life.
To hide from predators, you can create twisted valleys or crevices. Design can be altered
The 3D printer can be adapted to fit a variety environments.
Terracotta was chosen for its environmental friendliness and slight resemblance to clay.
Acidic with a chemical composition similar to real reefs.
“Other materials, like concrete or metal, have very high pH levels — so are
They are too toxic for corals to grow on or leach toxic chemicals into their environment.
water,” Yu says. “So, choosing terracotta was quite simple; because it is what
the coral, our tenants, would like.”
They are heavy enough to ensure that the tiles don’t float.
They can be used in any water condition, but are light enough that only one certified is required.
Divers can place them on the sea floor. Their hexagonal shape allows them to be placed on the seafloor.
to connect together — further contributing to their stability, dynamicity, and
scalability. Archireef is a coral protection company.
The assisted migration and installation of the tiles in deeper water led to the following results:
Coral is more resistant to bleaching and can grow better.
“Our first experiment with the tiles was in Hong Kong; and since deployment, we
I have not witnessed any bleaching. Actually, there was a regional bleaching event
this summer; but our tiles were fIne, because they are in deeper water,” Yu
Their first research project was launched in 2016 in Hong Kong’s Hoi Ha Wan
Marine Park in
Partner with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
Finalized in 2020, 128 pieces of reef tiles are now placed on the seabed —
It covers 40 square meters. Three restoration sites were chosen within the park
— including Coral Beach, Moon Island and a sheltered bay near the WWF
Marine Life Education Center.
After the tiles are deployed, Archireef manages the site for up to five years —
Monitoring the growth of the reef and its biodiversity, and measuring and quantifying it.
impacts. Its next project will begin later in the year in the UAEWhere is it?
They will set up a 20-meter-square reef. Abu Dhabi. Archireef is hoping to
To promote coral, you need to engage more clients in a variety industries.