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Port infrastructure with an eye to the environment wins sustainability prize

Its vision of eco-friendly, nature-inclusive ports has earned the EU-funded Living Ports project the 2022 International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) Sustainability Award for Infrastructure.

Climate Change and Environment
Industrial Technologies

The Living Ports project has won one of six sustainability awards granted by the IAPH. Living Ports received the award in the Infrastructure category for its large-scale, cost-effective and sustainable port infrastructure solution at the Port of Vigo, Spain. The winner of each category was determined following a public vote (30 %) and an evaluation carried out by a jury of 9 independent experts (70 %). The other five sustainability awards were granted in the following categories: Climate & Energy, Digitalization, Environmental Care, Health Safety & Security, and Community Building. The six winners were announced at the Gala Dinner for the IAPH World Ports Conference held in Vancouver, Canada, on 17 May 2022. “We are pleased that Living Ports has been recognised by public and peer voting for the innovative project it truly is!” states CEO Dr Ido Sella of Living Ports project coordinator ECOncrete Tech (Israel) in a press release posted on the Living Ports website. “ECOncrete is proud to lead this project, developing next-generation port infrastructure. We hope that this project will continue to act as a leading example for the future of the sustainable ports ecosystem in Spain, Europe and the wider global community.”

What makes Living Ports sustainability award-worthy

An estimated 70 % of today’s coastal infrastructure is built using traditional concrete, a material that is largely toxic to marine life and expensive to maintain. Living Ports is working to change this reality by replacing traditional concrete with its flexible, cost-efficient and structurally sound port infrastructure technology that also meets environmental goals. The project includes ECOncrete Tech’s concrete technology in a 310 m2 sea wall and an underwater observation deck developed by Living Ports project partner Cardama Shipyard (Spain). The deck will be supported by five ECOncrete bio-enhancing moorings. In addition, 100 coastal armour units will provide coastal stabilisation and promote habitat creation and ecological uplift. By enabling concrete infrastructure that stores carbon and regenerates ecosystems, the project’s technology is driving a shift in focus from solely function and structural performance to include environmental benefits. “Until today, the inclusion of living spaces for marine organisms in industrial harbors has been rarely in the focus of engineering projects. At the core of the Living Ports project are therefore the question if we can generate technical solutions that return the expected additional investments for nature-inclusive designs through an elongated lifetime of the structures, improved biodiversity, and increased benefits for the local population,” comments Assoc. Prof. Wolfgang Kunther of Living Ports project partner Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in a news item posted on the university’s website. DTU will be leading the infrastructure’s biological and structural monitoring throughout the project. Remarking on the award received by Living Ports (Reducing the ecological footprint of ports with ECOncrete®’s bio-enhancing concrete technologies), Dr Tim Wilms, also of DTU, states: “It is a very pleasant surprise and I hope that by winning this award, we will be able to bring more attention to the importance of including nature in large-scale infrastructure projects.” The project ends in May 2024. For more information, please see: Living Ports project website


Living Ports, port, infrastructure, concrete, sustainability, award, IAPH, nature-inclusive design

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