1. About the brand
Archireef: Designed the world’s first clay artificial reef structure by 3D Printing
Archireef is a startup developed by Hong Kong scientists and architects to use 3D printing techniques to restore Hong Kong’s coral reef.
Hong Kong’s coral reefs are disappearing fast. Founder Virko said she witnessed a coral reef bleached within 2 months, leading her to start thinking of ways to save Hong Kong’s marine system.
They use 3D printers to create “reef tiles” – hexagons made of terracotta, and place them on the seafloor in Hoi Ha Wan Bay.
The tiles are designed in layers to replicate geometry of a brain coral. The top layer serves as the primary space to attach coral fragments, and marine biologists insert different coral species in the tiles.
The tiles elevate corals from the seabed and allow them to access sunshine, nutrients and food and avoid sedimentation, a common reason in Hong Kong for killing coral reefs.
It will take 5-10 years for the corals to fully cover the tiles and seabed.
WHAT’S GOING ON NOW:
The tiles now cover 40 sqm in Hoi Ha Wan Bay.
They open for commercial organizations to adopt the coral tiles, and expand their projects to other countries like Maldives and Philippines.
They are also developing similar technology to save mangrove forests, first to test in Abu Dhabi.
They started their venture in Abu Dhabi, and was listed in Fast Company Middle East’s top 100 list of innovations and ideas that will shape the middle east in 2023.
2. About the founders
Co-founder, HKU Biology Masters graduate
Co-founder, HKU Associate Professor, Marine Biologist
Provides eco-engineering solutions for ocean ecosystem restoration
To combat climate change and realize Hong Kong’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, they hope to combine the latest technology with biology and design to save marine life.
3. Challenges and opportunity
Years of development
The founders have used 8 years to research, test and successfully implement the reef tiles. The coral reefs also require years to see substantial results.
Right now there are promising results in coral’s growth, and through Archireef they reach out to commercial organizations for revenue, thus expanding their projects elsewhere.
4. Brand Development Timeline
Won HKSTP’s Elevator Pitch Competition
5. The Future
More product lines, expand business overseas
Archireef will tap into big corporates’ recent attention towards ESG for monetary support, and expand presence in other countries.