“Coral”, the flower of the sea, possesses the charm and exotic beauty of the sea. Coral reefs are also a habitat for marine lives and small fishes that contribute to the vitality of the sea. But in recent years, many coral reefs have been destroyed from coastal fishing, trawl fishing, boats’ anchorage and the development along the coast.
The aforementioned problems led to the development of “InnovaReef”. This is an innovation that changed the concept and the way of conserving the sea in ways that are balanced, harmonious, and sustainable. It started with the coral reef ecosystem of Thailand under the conservation of coral reefs and marine life project under the Thai Royal Initiative of Princess Sirivannavari. It has also won the National Innovation Awards 2020 in Product Design Category rewarded by the National Innovation Agency of Thailand or NIA. It uses 3D cement printing technology to create innovative coral reefs that closely resemble the actual coral reefs. It can be adjusted to suit the shape and type of coral reefs in the area. It uses non-toxic, durable, and lightweight materials. It is also easy for fishes and marine lives to accept as habitat without feeling that it’s a foreign object. It also creates areas for lights and shadows, providing escape areas for sea life and increasing its biodiversity.
In addition, its structure has been designed to be dissembled and adjusted as needed to fit with the intended use in different areas. The small and lightweight pieces can be assembled and moved easily. As a result, the cost of transportation both by land and sea including the cost of installation is lower than the original form of artificial coral. So, this can lead to economic development and community well-being improvement.
“InnovaReef” is an innovation that helps restore coral reef ecosystems. It provides areas of coral planula to cultivate and grow, plus it is beautiful and durable like the real coral reefs. It is biodegradable and does not pollute the environment or affect marine life. This is another way of using technology to restore marine and coastal resources of Thailand.