Mineral Accretion, or the Biorock® process, is a new method that uses low voltage direct current electricity to grow solid limestone rock structures in the sea and accelerate the growth of corals providing homes for reef fish and protecting the shoreline. The electrical current causes minerals that are naturally dissolved in seawater to precipitate and adhere to a metal structure.
The result is a composite of limestone and brucite with mechanical strength similar to concrete. Derived from seawater, this material is similar to the composition of natural coral reefs and tropical sand beaches.
Invente d by architect Wolf Hilbertz for construction purposes, mineral accretion has been applied to coral reef restoration by Hilbertz and coral scientist, Tom Goreau. Mineral accretion structures can be built in any size or shape.
This patented process increases the growth rate of corals well above normal, giving them extra energy that allows them to survive in conditions that would otherwise kill them. At the same time these structures attract huge numbers of fish, and also provide breakwaters that get stronger with age.
Biorock reefs, with their lush coral swarming with fish, have become major ecotourism attractions. Hotels in the Maldives, Indonesia, and Panama have built their advertising around the fact that they can offer great snorkeling right in front of their beaches.