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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

Establishment of the KIOST Research Institute Spinoff Company, Korea Marine Ecosystem Block

  • HITS : 74
  • Date : 2020-04-09

The Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) (President Kim Woongseo) developed a technology to produce environmentally-friendly marine ecosystem blocks* from oyster shells abandoned at sea, which are a source of environmental pollution and foul odors, and founded a research institute spinoff company** on April 7, 2020 to commercialize the technology.

  *Marine ecosystem blocks are environmentally-friendly underwater artificial structures used to create and restore marine ecosystems (for the settlement, protection, and cultivation of marine life, etc.) and are an improved version of existing concrete blocks.

 ** A research institute spinoff company is a company established in a special R&D zone, designed to enable public research institutes to commercialize their technologies, that is eligible for tax cuts and R&D support (company establishment must be approved by the Ministry of Science and ICT).


Korea Marine Ecosystem Block (CEO Joonyoung Lim) , a joint investment venture with Pungwon Lime Agricultural Co., Ltd , is KIOST’s third research institute spinoff company. The spinoff company has been establishing based on KIOST’s green ecosystem blocks, created using oyster shells, with funding from Pungwon Lime Agricultural Co., Ltd.


Artificial structures, such as artificial fishing banks and marine forest reefs, installed to create and preserve marine ecosystems are commonly made using concrete blocks. However, concrete is highly alkaline and produces efflorescence, which is a toxic substance that blocks the growth of water plants and marine algae. As such, underwater structures that are conventionally used in marine ecosystems are notoriously known for causing sea desertification.


The green marine ecosystem blocks developed by the KIOST are made of oyster shell powder (more than 50%) and environmentally-friendly cement that contains special materials that are loved by algae and fish. The blocks are coated with cement made of oyster shells and soil made of humus that is rich in amino acids and organic components. The coating promotes the growth of plankton and microorganisms that can stick to water plants, thereby playing an important role in the creation of a healthy undersea ecosystem. This green coating can also be applied to concrete fishing blocks that have already been installed and can be used to neutralize the hazardous components from the concrete, such as ammonia and strong alkali components.


The Korea Invention Promotion Association (KIPA), a public IP institution, assessed this patented technology at a value of KRW 95 million in 2019. The domestic market for marine ecosystem blocks is recording an annual growth of 3.7% and is expected to grow from KRW 69.6 billion in 2019 to KRW 83.3 billion by 2024.


In the Southern Gyeongsang Province alone, there are an estimated 80,000 tons of disposed oyster shells. The efficient application of the technology, which reuses discarded oyster shells, can resolve the problem of marine waste while also reactivating the circulation cycle of marine resources.



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Last Update : 2020-03-07