The ECOMERS lab is involved since the spring 2015 in a new and challenging scientific project, the printing of artificial reefs. Boaskalis, an international company specialized in maritime engineering, launched a project of 3D printing to build artificial reefs. In association with the Foundation Albert 2 and the AMPN (Association Monégasque pour la Protection de la Nature), they plan to print the reefs in Italy under the control of Enrico Dini, and to immerse them in the Larvotto marine protected areas. Patrice Francour, as AR expert, has been contacted by the AMPN to join the team to design these new artificial reefs.
The 3D printing allow to create new artificial reefs, more complex than the traditional concrete ARs. The printed reefs are build in dolomite sand, a totally natural product. Six reefs will be printed and immersed in the Larvotto MPA during the spring 2016. An experiment is currently carried out to compare fouling on dolomite and concrete plates.
The first printed unit has been officially presented to the Prince Albert during a ceremony hosted in the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.