The Peiraos do Solpor project aims to transform "gray" infrastructures in the port environment into green infrastructures (structures that evoke natural processes in artificial environments). The project combines the conservation and restoration of ecosystems (ecology) with the planning and design of port infrastructures (engineering).
It will contribute to improve the provision of ecosystem services in the port environment and create a CO2 fixation system through the design eco-engineering of artificial structures recreating habitats lost due to port activities.
The project seeks to improve port-city integration, creating leisure spaces that will include marine visors and interpretive panels to facilitate the dissemination of marine ecosystems.
The large-scale implementation of all stages and their follow-up will demonstrate the carbon offset in port infrastructure and the compatibility of port activity with the high quality of the marine ecosystem.
The project has the participation of many partners that make up a solid structure that provides experience and resources to be able to undertake all the tasks designed: Vigo Port Authority, CIM-Universidade de Vigo, Econcrete, Cardama Shipyard, Technical University of Denmark (DTU) , the Melilla Port Authority and the spin off Blue Structure (University of Vigo).
The project is developed in three sequential stages, each of which is key to the next stage: (i) PuertaAlMar, (ii) Puertos Vivos and (iii) Peiraos do Solpor. The first two are under execution and financed with European funds. Currently, the Port of Vigo is working on the design of the third phase where the previous developments will be integrated.
Phase I. PuertAlMar
PuertAlMar is the first stage of the Peiraos do Solpor project of the Port of Vigo with the collaboration of the University of Vigo. Its objective is to design structures that support marine life. The purpose is the recolonization of coastal areas that have been affected by industrial activities in the port environment.
To maximize the increase in biodiversity and carbon sequestration, the researchers use biomimetics, that is, they imitate forms of nature in artificial structures. The model used the calcareous alga Lithothamnion corallioides, one of the main Maërl-forming species (benthic community of great ecological richness).
The project began in 2019 with a pilot study with the stallation of structures under existing piers, designed to maximize the fixation of marine organisms. All the experience has been monitored over a year to characterize the attached biological community. During the monitoring process, the composition, abundance, diversity, pattern of succession, as well as the functions of the new ecosystem created and its impact on the socio-economic activities of the environment, have been evaluated, in particular, mitigation of climate change through of the development of CO2 sink communities and source of restoring of species of fishing interest.
The results obtained offer an interesting perspective not only for the port but also for the Ría itself, in terms of the potential recovery of species. On the other hand, this phase includes awareness-raising actions and dissemination of results aimed at professional sectors and schools, with the aim of increasing awareness about the potential of the Ría and the need to find innovative and green solutions that allow a balance between good functioning of ecosystems and economic activities in 2019.
The study conclusions will make it possible to know the evolution of the associations and assess the possible role of the structures as a management and protection tool from an ecosystem perspective.
This stage ends in May 2021 and is developed through the project “Promotion and recovery of disturbed areas in marine-port environments and their benefits for the development of fishing activities. Awareness and dissemination - PUERTALMAR ”funded through the Pleamar 2020 call of the Biodiversity Foundation.
Informative video about PuertAlMar: PuertAlMar
Phase II. Living Ports
It is designed based on the results obtained in Stage 1. This phase contemplates the design and installation of specific structures for port walls and walls, facilitating the colonization of fauna and flora in them, as well as the design and installation of submerged artificial reefs.
In the heart of the port, in A Laxe, the largest project performance will be carried out, together with the structures and artificial reefs, several floating docks and an underwater observatory designed by the Cardama shipyard from Vigo will be installed, which will allow visitors to contemplate the great biodiversity from the port coastline. Innovative and environmentally sensitive materials that enhance ecological value will be used for construction. Another project performance will take place at the Bouzas breakwater, where 100 units of artificial reefs will be installed, the first large-scale deployment of this technology designed by the ECOncrete company.
The project is subsidized by European funds through the call FTI - H2020. It is coordinated by the Israeli company Econcrete, being partners, the Port of Vigo, Cardama and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
The project contemplates an investment of € 3.1 M in 3 years.
Phase III. Peiraos do Solpor
The last stage will integrate the designs and technologies tested in the previous phases, including recreational use infrastructures for the dissemination and integration of the port and the city. The large-scale implementation of all stages and their monitoring will demonstrate the important carbon offset in port infrastructure and the compatibility of port activity with a good quality of the marine ecosystem and a sustainable city.
In this way, the intention is to create an ecological reserve of the Port of Vigo that will have artificial reefs and intertidal pools oriented to biodiversity, which will recreate the environmental conditions necessary for the colonization of native fauna and flora. Integrated with these ecosystems, an educational walk area will be created for the enjoyment of citizens.
Additionally, the Port of Vigo seeks to promote and enhance the seagrass meadows of the port ecosystem, in order to reduce the pressure on them and carry out practices for their restoration that serve to repower the biodiversity of the area and capture CO2.
Peiraos do Soplor project was selected by the International Association of Ports and Harbours as the winning project in the field of Port-City dialogue of the IAPH Awards 2020 in the category “Dialogue with the community and the port city".
The project was first selected as one of the top three of the projects submitted and was finally selected as a winner project after competing with a consortium of ports from the United States and Canada and another project from a Korean port.
Port of Vigo has received several recognitions for its efforts to promote the Blue Economy and the implementation of its Blue Growth strategy, especially in the areas of becoming a Green and Inclusive Port (port-city relationship). Among them, the recognition of the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the European Association of Ports (ESPO).
- The recovery of the good state of the marine ecosystems of the port area of Vigo, as well as the improvement of the growth of plant and animal species typical of the area.
- Promotion of awareness and sensitization on the importance of port area ecosystems conservation.
- Carbon emissions reduction through CO2 capture technology as a valid tool to offset emissions and contribute to achieving sustainable ports.
- Green Port: the project promotes the conservation of the marine environment through the recovery of port ecosystems, but also through the programmed dissemination actions, seeking to encourage responsible practices in the exploitation of resources and environmental awareness, contributing to the conservation of ecosystems.
- Innovative Port: the project foresees the development and testing of new systems for the fixation of marine fauna and flora in reef-like structures, thus contributing to the design of new prototypes that enrich the possibilities of recovering degraded ecosystems. On the other hand, the design of the observatory also involves a great effort in innovation, since it is a pioneering idea that must be analyzed in accordance with the characteristics of the area where it is to be established.
The first phase of the project is currently underway with its own funds and co-financed by the Biodiversity Foundation in its PLEAMAR Program, while the next phase has been submitted to funding calls and is pending resolution.