Sweden’s Höganäs AB reports that its residual products from steelmaking are being investigated as a suitable material as part of the EU’s LIFE Lophelia project which aims to deploy artificial reef structures in Kosterhavet, Sweden, to give coral a chance to recover.
Supported by the county administrative board for Västra Götaland and the University of Gothenburg, the project reportedly involves manufacturing and placing artificial reef structures in the sea. At the University of Gothenburg’s marine laboratory in Tjärnö, work is said to be underway on designing the artificial structures, by breeding coral larvae to test what attracts them.
“The eye coral larvae are natural to our waters, but they need to attach to hard surfaces that protrude from the bottom in order to thrive and grow into coral reefs,” stated Anita Tullrot, Project Manager for LIFE Lophelia on the county administrative board for Västra Götaland.
Ann Larsson, a researcher at Gothenburg University, noted, “We investigate different materials and surface structures to see what the larvae prefer to attach to. We also believe it is important how we design the artificial reefs so that favourable streams and swirls are formed that facilitate larvae to become attached.”
According to Höganäs, its production of metal powder also produces residual by-products which have high surface complexity and contain lime. Part of the project will investigate whether these products may be suitable for use in the artificial reef structures. Currently, 80% of the company’s residual products are said to be used as raw materials in new products such as soil improvers, asphalt raw materials and insulation.
Björn Haase, who is responsible for Höganäs’ work with residual products commented, “I am constantly trying to find new uses for Höganäs’ residual products as part of our efforts to contribute to a circular economy. Being able to participate in and contribute to a better environment through this project feels very important and good.”