Greening city concrete structures

An innovative concrete that accommodates the growth of moss on new and existing bare concrete walls has been developed by researchers in Netherlands.

The patent-pending bioreceptive concrete supports spontaneous and abundant growth of moss, say the researchers at Respire, an Amsterdam-based spin-off of Delft University of Technology.

“Several unique characteristics of our concrete make it bio-receptive which include its porosity and water retainment, micropore texture, acidity and nutrients that are included in the mixture,” the team explained.

“After hardening, the bio-receptive concrete’s surface accommodates the growth of moss.”

The Respyre concrete product combines concrete waste and mosses that make a self-sustaining vertical landscape simpler, sustainable and accessible. Moss is well-suited to concrete as it has rhizoids instead of roots. These are non-destructive and mainly function as an adhesive.

The researchers say applying the product to concrete structures creates beneficial ecosystems of moss while the underlying structure is protected against weathering and is not affected.

Effectively providing a natural respiratory system for highly populated cities, the concrete holds up to five litres of water per square metre, keeping structurers cool while converting CO2 to oxygen and absorbing other pollutants such as PM10, VOCs, NOx and NH3 from water and air.

Moss-growing concrete also promotes biodiversity of insects, providing a habitat or food source for other fauna, and requires little maintenance and reduces noise pollution.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.