Transformation of ports into active agents of biodiversity regeneration and climate change mitigation

February 2023 - February 2025

Funded by
Ports 4.0 -Puertos del Estado

Project Description

Public aid granted in the form of commercial projects by Puertos del Estado within the framework of the Entrepreneurship Boost Plan for Innovation in the port sector (Ports 4.0) and in the corresponding call for the year 2021


Ocean Ecostructures (leader, promoter, and project coordinator)

The project offers a comprehensive multi-technological solution combining biodiversity regeneration technology (BioBoosting System – BBS) and data collection technology through sensorized USVs as an IoT platform, cloud computing system, and artificial intelligence for the generation of virtual sensors and 3D models that behave as Digital Twins.

The objective of the project is to transform gray marine infrastructures into biodiverse areas (marine oases) while enabling their remote and real-time monitoring, visualization, and inspection to assess their impact in terms of biodiversity generation, CO2 capture, identification of invasive species, and improvement of water quality.

The BBS system for creating micro-reefs consists of a three-layer structure of natural materials mimicking nature: one for attracting microfauna (larvae, spores, gametes, and microscopic life), another layer designed for macroorganisms (juvenile fish and crustaceans), and a third layer for fixing life constructed of calcium carbonate or mineral substrate seeking to imitate nature. Natural materials are used for the generation of calcium carbonate, using electrolytic reaction between a deployed metal structure and seawater, and 3D printing with mineral materials and terracotta. The system is complemented by a mechanism for attaching to the main structure in three layers.

Data collection technology through sensorized USVs and its analysis is necessary within this project framework both for estimating biodiversity using the Margalef and Shannon Wiener indices and for determining biomass and the amount of carbon sequestered using the generalized volumetric method (GVM) or assessing water quality improvement.

The core of the project can be considered the micro-reef generation system, with monitoring, visualization, and inspection technology through sensorized USVs complementing the effects to assess improvements in biodiversity and water quality.

Prototype development at the Port of Barcelona and the Port of Palma de Mallorca.