In a recent project, the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Danish multinational power company Ørsted deployed 3D printed reef structures in the Kattegat, a strait between Denmark and Sweden. This initiative investigates whether 3D printed structures can enhance Danish waters’ biodiversity and halt the cod stock’s recent decline. Although not the first in the world, the project is the first of its kind in Danish waters.
The effects of our continued exploitation of the planet are harming our environment, which is suffering. The ocean, in particular, has been stressed beyond its capacity, and the damage is getting closer to irreparable. The shallow cod stock in Kattegat, a region of the Greater North Sea, indicates the recent decline in marine life. Numerous detrimental factors, including overfishing, habitat loss, and escalating oxygen depletion, have contributed to the stock’s current alarmingly low levels.
According to Bo Øksnebjerg, Secretary General of WWF Denmark,” Marine biodiversity in Denmark is under heavy pressure, and today there are 90 % fewer cod in the Kattegat than in 1990. Action is needed – and urgently. We must give nature and wildlife a hand while trying to solve our climate crisis by expanding our renewable energy production at the same time.”
Structure of 3D Printed Reef
Reef Design Lab, an Australian company, and WWF Netherlands collaborated to develop the reef’s initial design. Italian company D-Shape produced the reef’s actual structures. The structures comprise biocompatible pozzolanic cement, Portland cement, volcanic ash, and 70% sand. It doesn’t contain any synthetic or hazardous materials of industrial origin, and it won’t harm the environment around it. The project hopes to build on prior initiatives to restock the historically low cod population thanks to these reefs.
Restocking cod is crucial for the fish’s well-being and preserving the balance of the local marine ecosystem. The press release claims that cod, a top predator in the region, aids in controlling the population of other species, including the green crab. The underwater ecosystem’s natural balance will be harmed if the population of green crabs rises out of proportion. Furthermore, the 3D-printed reef structures will probably soon draw in other living things, making the area safe for the cod to return to.
3D Printed Reef structure isn’t exactly a novel concept. Similar initiatives have demonstrated the potential of AM technologies, such as the recent 3D printing of coral reefs off the southern Israeli city of Eilat or the work of archiREEF in Hong Kong. Following that success, the two partners in Denmark worked together to plant 12 3D printed reef structures on the Kattegat seabed. The precise location is between wind turbines at the Anholt Offshore Wind Farm in Denmark’s northeast. The project is the most recent in a series of environmental initiatives that have taken place since Ørsted and WWF Denmark’s strategic partnership began in 2018.
Future joint projects between Ørsted and the WWF are already in the works. “At Ørsted, we believe action on climate and nature can and must go hand-in-hand, and this exciting project together with WWF Denmark is one of many we’re testing out globally to seek the best solutions to make our ambition of a net-positive biodiversity impact a reality,” says Filip Engel, Vice President of Sustainability at Ørsted, of the potential. Visit Ørsted’s website HERE to learn more about the organization and its goals for the future.
What are your thoughts on the project? Will this growth be sustainable for the market for additive manufacturing?
Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page to let us know your ideas, and we would appreciate seeing pictures of your works of art!
*Cover Photo Credits: Ørsted