BLOG: Bioreceptivity and bioreceptive concrete explained

On July 15, 2022

If you are somewhat familiar with us, you’ve probably heard us talk about bioreceptivity and bioreceptive concrete. This is because bioreceptivity could be seen as the soul of our company. Without it, we would be nowhere. But what exactly is bioreceptivity? And how does it work?

In short, being bioreceptive could be defined as a surface that is designed to encourage the growth of plants and plant-like organisms such as mosses or lichens. In other words, something is receptive to biodiversity.

There are three forms of bioreceptivity. At first, we have a surface that has the potential to be colonized by living organisms. The second form is when the surface is already colonized by a living organism. As third there is a surface that has been adjusted by humans to make it more bioreceptive.

Different types of surfaces can be bioreceptive. There has been research into the bioreceptivity of paper and glass for example, but the most interesting surface is concrete. Not only because it’s the most used material in the building industry, but also because it resembles the physiological make-up of natural stone.

In essence all well-designed concrete is bioreceptive. But moss growth on buildings has been put in some bad light. There is this misconception that moss damages the structures when, in reality, it is just an indicator that the structure is probably treated bad in the past. So it is up to us to redeem this bad reputation and use moss to improve our urban life.

The bioreceptivity of concrete could also be used in our advantage. There are ways to make concrete even more bioreceptive. By doing this, we could incorporate more nature into our cities without the additional costs in construction and maintenance, and with less structural demands on the buildings we’d want to attach green facades to.

So how do we make our concrete more bioreceptive? One thing you’ll need to know is, water is essential for the growth of mosses. At Respyre we’ve created a technique to capture and hold the right amount of water in our concrete. Also, by adding changes to the surface we are able to encourage the waterflow through the concrete. On top of this water optimization, we’ve also worked to create the perfect environment for our moss species to thrive in. By spreading our concrete mixture on the outside of a building and adding the proper moss species, it’s possible to create beautiful green facades throughout the cities.

But why moss? It’s not like it is the most beloved plant species out there. But they have one feature that makes them the perfect pioneer: instead of having normal roots, they have rhizoids. With these they can anchor themselves to concrete without having to pierce through it. This is the reason moss works great with our bioreceptive concrete.

All these factors enable us to bring nature to our cities with lower costs and lower demands. This means by using bioreceptivity we could capture more carbon dioxide, clean the air, cool the cities, reduce water overload during heavy rainfall, increase biodiversity in the cities and more. And it won’t stop with just our cities. There has been done research into creating concrete reefs, to revive sees with the same technology.

So, in the past, the bioreceptivity of concrete hasn’t had the best name. But in the future, it could be one of the most important technologies in our fight against climate change. We will keep developing our technology to bring cities back to life!

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