This Company’s 3D-Printed Terracotta Tiles Are Paving the Way for Coral Restoration

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This Company’s 3D-Printed Terracotta Tiles Are Paving the Way for Coral Restoration

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.

Exploding with colors, textures and lifeforms, coral reefs provide a spectacular, living window into an underwater world. Alongside this, they play a vital role in sustaining our planet: Despite covering less than 1 percent of the ocean floor, they provide critical ecosystems to more than 25 percent of marine life, provide millions of jobs globally, protect coastlines from storms and erosion, and offer a vital food source for local populations.

All of this makes their ongoing degradation and disappearance all the more alarming: Climate change, overfishing, various types of pollution, and rising sea temperatures and acidification have killed 14 percent of the world’s coral in the last decade; and 90 percent are projected to disappear by 2050 without drastic action.

With the 2020s designated the “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration” by the UN, efforts are underway across the world to rehabilitate the many critical sources of our planet’s biodiversity — and coral reefs have inspired action on a variety of fronts. Recent efforts include a public-awareness campaign from Adobe and Pantone, companies such as CVS Health eliminating coral-damaging chemicals from sunscreens; and Ørsted’s ReCoral project — a world-first attempt to implement a non-invasive approach for collecting surplus indigenous coral spawn as it washes ashore, for growing healthy coral colonies on the foundations of nearby offshore wind turbines.

Joining the fray is a Hong-Kong based company called Archireef — one of a growing group of startup innovators that are applying biomimetic approaches to solving a host of critical sustainability and climate-related issues.