4,226 feet above sea level is a small, Utah-based company working to restore coral reef systems globally. With its patented technology, Reef Life Restoration (RLR) has developed creative solutions to protect and regenerate coral populations around the world.
70% of the world’s coral reefs are dead or dying. In addition to housing over a quarter of all marine life, coral reefs protect coastlines from the damaging effects of waves and tropical storms. Without a solution, it is estimated that almost all coral reefs will be wiped out by 2050.
Leveraging their experience in cellular concrete architectural manufacturing, RLR has developed a marine-specific smart concrete to create nano-engineered reef habitats. These habitats use environmentally sustainable minerals to mimic the complex composition of natural coral reefs and provide nutrients to promote coral growth. Contrary to current artificial reef structures, their smart-concrete is robust enough to survive extreme weather and changes in the broader ecosystem.
“This is the type of innovation you would expect to see out of Stanford or MIT,” said Melody Brenna, CEO of RLR. “Utah, an inland state known for its technology and agricultural industries, is on the forefront of oceanic restoration across the globe. Our first sale was to Canadian-based Sea Legacy for Caribbean coral reef restoration projects which are manufactured today for summer deployment.”
After 10 years of development, RLR patented their technology in 2016, presented at the UN in 2017, and was featured at the Our Oceans Conference in Malta. Ready to take their coral reef solutions to the world, the company traveled to the World Ocean Summit last March. The global summit, which is hosted by The Economist Group and held in Mexico, is focused on the health of the ocean and is working to accelerate the transition to sustainable use of the ocean.
While at the summit, RLR made invaluable connections and increased their global exposure, including an Australian project they are currently bidding on to build coral migration units for the Great Barrier Reef. A representative from the Meso American Reef project was also at the summit and approached RLR about their mooring station habitats. These habitats serve as “living shorelines” as well as systems for safe boat docking to prevent further reef damage from anchoring. After connecting at the summit, the Meso American Reef project intends to use RLR’s solutions in its restoration.
“The opportunity to meet directly with current and potential clients at the World Ocean Summit was paramount,” said Brenna who, in the past, has relied on Skype and social media for business communications. “While at the summit, we also attended engineering meetings for a floating platform project.”
The trip to the World Ocean Summit was invaluable. The company was able to travel to and attend the summit after applying for and being awarded funding from the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) which is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The company is one of 45 who have received STEP grant funding this year.
The STEP grant is administered by World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote prosperity across the state by attracting investment and increasing exports. One of the ways WTC Utah accomplishes this mission is by helping small businesses build capacity for international trade.
With the help of the STEP grant, RLR is actualizing their goal to help restore the coral reefs. Their recent increase in exposure has earned RLR a spot as a featured speaker at the upcoming Border Sessions in the Netherlands as well as other notable invitations to global conversations.
To learn more about the STEP grant opportunities and how WTC Utah can help your business grow please visit wtcutah.com/grants/step-grant/.
To learn more about RLR, visit the following resources.
http://www.reefliferestoration.com/safe-anchorage-mooring-stations – First Sale to Sea Legacy, and what will be deployed on the Meso Reefs.
http://www.reefliferestoration.com/marine-growth-cell-matrix – Patent pending reef mineral matrix which is being manufactured today for the mooring station complex in the Caribbean.
http://www.reefliferestoration.com/team-bios – Global Advisory Board
http://www.reefliferestoration.com/blog – Current projects and press