3D Innovareef: Sculpture to Restore Thai Marine Ecosystem

BANGKOK, Oct. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Chula Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animal Research Center of Excellence (VMARCE)’s Innovareef to accelerate recovery of the coral reefs, promote eco-tourism, and monitor marine environment health has won the National Innovation Awards (NIAWARDS) 2020 for Product and Service Design. 

The previous generations of artificial reefs created visual pollution and were largely ineffective.  Therefore, a Chula research team, led by Associate Professor Dr. Nantarika Chansue, Director of VMARCE and Head of Ornamental Aquatic Animal and Aquatic Animals for Conservation Research Unit (OAAC), Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, have endeavored to create lifelike artificial reefs with good tidal forces resistance to promote settlement of planula, generate habitats for marine species, and help accelerate the recovery of coral reefs.

Innovareefs have the following advantages over other artificial reefs:

1.      Coral nutrient coating with calcium and phosphate that corals need in order to thrive.  Data shows faster growth of planula by approximately three to four centimeters a year.

2.      Biomimicry accommodates the settlement of planula and serves as marine life habitat.

3.      Resistance to tidal forces with a hydrodynamic design.

4.      Global warming monitoring smart station with fitted probes that can monitor the marine environment, e.g., water temperature, tidal forces, and potential of Hydrogen (pH).

5.      Winning Design made with the cement of close pH to seawater, Innovareef is easy to transport, assemble/disassemble with its lightweight Lego block design. The production cost is also as low as THB 26,000 per unit.

Thai Innovareef: A New Paradise for Divers

Innovareefs can be developed into eco-tourism attractions for both local and foreign amateur divers, snorkelers, and sea walkers to generate income for the country.

The Future: Next Generations of Innovareef

The team plans to lower the production cost and enhance the design based on the prevalent marine species in the area.  They are also working with Chula Engineering in applying nanotechnology to protect the Innovareef against global warming effects. 

For more information, please contact VMARCE Tel: +66 (0) 2251 8887, +66 (0) 2218 9510. Email: [email protected].

For the full release and more images, please visit: https://www.chula.ac.th/en/highlight/89180/