Innovative Delft-based start-up Reefy combines knowledge of hydraulic engineering and marine biology to develop solutions that aid in the recovery of coral reefs and seagrass. Reefy has conducted successful tests with fully circular and biodegradable materials in the tropical coral reef at Burgers' Ocean and will soon use the techniques to restore coral reefs in the wild.
Coral reefs form natural breakwaters, protecting vulnerable coastal areas. Reefy develops stable artificial reefs that protect the coast from wave erosion and stimulate biodiversity. Many coral reef restoration projects use a lot of steel, concrete and even plastic. In contrast, Reefy is researching sustainable alternative materials to restore coral reefs in Indonesia, Mexico and other vulnerable coastal areas.
Burgers' Ocean is a tropical aquarium at Royal Burgers' Zoo that holds eight million litres of water. The living tropical coral reef of 750,000 litres is the largest coral reef in European public aquariums, and only San Francisco (USA) and Townsville (Australia) have larger coral reefs in aquariums. For years, Burgers' Ocean has had great success with home-grown corals, which the Arnhem Zoo donates to fellow European aquariums in large quantities. The coral reef in Arnhem imitates an Indonesian natural reef; the conditions and influences are similar to nature, making it an excellent location for the experiment.
Delft-based start-up Reefy was founded by Jaime Ascencio and Leon Haines. Ascencio worked as an engineer in Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, where he sought sustainable solutions for resorts against coastal erosion. The coastal reefs previously available on the market proved unstable and could not be used as breakwaters. Ascencio went to TU Delft for a master's in Coastal Engineering to find a solution. Haines is a marine biologist who spent five years working on coral reef restoration projects on islands in Thailand, the Maldives and Indonesia after studying Integrated Coastal Management/Marine Biology.
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