Fibrenamics Launches Innovative Project to Protect the Biodiversity of the Azores Islands
Fibrenamics, one of the biggest Portuguese technological centers of technical and scientific innovation in natural fibers and composite materials, in partnership with Açorgeo, CIMPA, and the Gaspar Frutuoso Foundation of the University of the Azores, launched an innovative project aimed at protecting the biodiversity of the Azores.
Based on a multidisciplinary approach, this innovative European project aims to develop a solution that regenerates and stabilizes slopes of low/medium inclination, in the construction and tourism areas, while promoting the germination of endemic species and protecting the biodiversity of the region.
It's important to remember that the materials used in construction are a major threat to biodiversity in the Azores. One of the main causes is the protection and stabilization of slopes that enhance the development of invasive species, as a result of the lack of control over the vegetation, or, the use of cement mixtures, such as concrete and mortar, which make the soil inhospitable to the germination of any species.
The project named "Slope Stabilization and Revegetation" introduced a new technology, which consists of a geocomposite composed of a mineral matrix, combined with a natural biopolymer and cryptomeria fibers. Additionally, the product also contains embedded seeds of endogenous plant species.
Figure 1 - Projection of the Geocomposite on an artificial slope.
Figure 2 - Arrangement of the behavior tests in real-use conditions.
Figure 3 - Aspect of the strips after projection.
Figure 4 - Similar germination in the seed strip (left) and in the F10 + seed strip (right).
The geocomposite developed "presents an effective solution, capable of contributing not only to the protection/stabilization of slopes but also as a system that encourages the germination and development of endemic species rather than invasive species, therefore protecting regional biodiversity", as explained by Raquel Galante, Project Manager at Fibrenamics Azores.
Its innovative composition based on endogenous raw materials, which incorporates endemic seeds, was designed to make the final product both effective, environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and perfectly adaptable to existing technologies in the region.
Figure 5 - Team involved in the Slope Stabilization and Revegetation Project.
This new technology will allow the reduction of resources' importation and the development of innovative sustainable products, in the area of civil construction and tourism, even though it can be applied in different market areas such as territorial ornamentation and forest protection and conservation.
For António Trota, Managing Partner of Açorgeo, the collaboration with Fibrenamics Azores, enabled "the entry of Açorgeo in a new market niche and the increase of its competitiveness, since from this project it was possible to reduce the dependence on external partners and also increase the range of sustainable services/solutions". The company plans to introduce this new geotextile in the market within a year.
Watch the video of the project below.