December 2020 marked the deployment of fifty 150-square-foot nature-inclusive ECOncrete Marine Mattresses, providing large-scale armoring and protection for the Cross-Sound Cable, a 24-mile underwater electrical transmission cable under contract by Eversource and the Long Island Power Authority. Operated by PSEG Long Island, as agent to LIPA, the cable runs along the bed of the Long Island Sound. This allows electricity to transmit between Long Island and Connecticut. The 6,250 square feet of mattresses were developed by ECOncrete in partnership with Besser Company. The development occurred under the BIRD Foundation funding framework in 2016.
This project is the first full-scale deployment of ECOncrete’s ecological Marine Mattresses after completed pilot projects in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Neptune, New Jersey, having undergone comprehensive multi-year monitoring efforts to provide field validation. The ECOncrete Marine Mattresses will provide ecosystem regeneration. They will also serve as a habitat for Long Island Sound’s marine life. In addition they will fulfill the structural purpose of protecting the underwater cable. This project is a major step to reduce the ecological footprint of offshore construction. These changes, such as changes to native seabed ecosystems can result in the dominance of invasive and nuisance species. This structural and ecological installation will also serve to improve accountability to an increasingly environmentally conscious public. ECOncrete’s Marine Mattresses provide the means to minimize structural-environmental conflicts. They also change the way we build in water, so our infrastructure is made stronger by enabling ecosystems to thrive.
“The use of ECOncrete’s Mattresses for an offshore installation such as this will be a crucial case study for future offshore works. This is especially true at a time when offshore wind energy is gearing up for full-scale deployment in the tri-state area,” says Dr. Andrew Rella. Dr. Rella is the Global Director of Engineering, ECOncrete.
“For more than 50 years Eversource has operated high-voltage electric cables under the Long Island Sound, supporting the reliability needs of our customers in southwest Connecticut with an additional power source,” said Eversource Vice President of Electric Field Operations Don Boudreau. “It’s critical to protect those cables to ensure the safe delivery of power and also the health and wellbeing of the Sound.”
“PSEG Long Island is pleased to be part of this innovative technology,” said John O’Connell, vice president of Transmission & Distribution at PSEG Long Island. “Providing our customers with safe and reliable power is very important to us. The new ECOncrete’s Mattresses will not only protect the cables. It will also help to provide a safe environment for our local marine life.”
ECOncrete (material owner, and rights to innovation) is an award-winning start up led by two award-winning marine biologists. They are co-founder and CTO Ido Sella, and co-founder and CEO Shimrit Perkol-Finkel. The company rethinks the coastal and marine infrastructure industry by designing concrete infrastructure that regenerates marine life. Chemical composition, rough surface textures, and nature-based 3-D designs facilitate organisms like oysters and kelp that encrust the infrastructure. These things help to make it stronger, biodiversity-positive, and an effective carbon sink. ECOncrete is proving that there is a feasible path for stronger infrastructure that benefits the environment.