Açoriano Oriental
Company creates geotextile slope protection with materials from the Azores

Biocomposite geotextile incorporating Azores cryptomeria and seeds of endemic plants was developed by the company Açorgeo under the project "Slope Stabilization and Revegetation"

Autor: Rui Jorge Cabral

A biocomposite geotextile for protection of slopes against erosion - and incorporating materials such as cryptomeria from the Azores and seeds from endemic plants - was developed by the regional company Açorgeo, under the project "Slope Stabilization and Revegetation".

Açorgeo was created in 2007, at the initiative of its majority partner, university professor António Trota. Some of its first projects were related to the construction of roads in São Miguel, with studies in the areas of geology and geotechnics.

The “Slope Stabilization and Revegetation” project was co-financed by Azores 2020, through the Regional Directorate of Science and Technology, having Fibrenamics Azores as one of its partners. This company is headquartered at the University of Minho and is dedicated to the study and application of natural fibers to different materials. The University of the Azores is the other partner.

The goal was to develop a biocomposite geotextile reinforced with fibrous materials of natural origin and characteristic of the Azores, as was the case of cryptomeria, while incorporating seeds of endemic plant species, intended for the stabilization and revegetation of slopes.

The main objective of this project was therefore to create an innovative, effective, and more environmentally sustainable product, using regional resources that would contribute to the reduction of imports.

The biocomposite geotextile was recently presented at Nonagon, in the city of Lagoa, during an ‘Open Day’ aimed at disseminating the prototype. Present at the ‘Open Day’ were governmental and municipal officials, as well as companies linked to construction and public works.

As explained to Açoriano Oriental by Fernando Sousa, one of Açorgeo's partners, this geotextile is intended to “improve the slopes' resistance to erosion, protecting them above all from rain and winds when vegetation is still growing, while also incorporating seeds of endemic plants, so that, when they are covered with vegetation, this vegetation is endemic” and, therefore, more integrated in the Azorean landscape.

This research, development and business innovation project started in April 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, beginning in April 2020.

The new geotextile, which is estimated to be produced in the Azores in its final version and marketed within a year, is intended mainly for use in public, regional and municipal works, but may also be useful, on a smaller scale, in stabilising slopes in private works.

It is also Açorgeo's intention that this new geotextile may be marketed elsewhere, namely in the Portuguese mainland, a market where the company has been present since 2010. However, the biocomposite still must undergo some adaptations, namely as to the type of vegetation it already brings incorporated, which should be adjusted to the continental territory, whose climate is very different from that of the Azores.

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