4 budding global entrepreneurs, ocean-enthusiasts students of TU Delft are on a journey to save the reefs in Lombok!


Written by Maëlle Picout


Alexandru Bobe, Joppe Roorda, Tadé Whenu and Xavier Hubbelmeijer are students part of the minor of Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship at the TU Delft Faculty of Technology Policy and Management. Motivated by their goal to socio-environmentally improve the world we live in, they are closely working together, in the context of their ongoing studies, with Reef Support and an inspiring non-governmental organisation, the Indonesia Biru Foundation (IBF). Established in 2020, IBF, with whom Reef Support has worked with before on numerous projects and webinars, aims to increase awareness of Indonesian citizens towards ocean issues and become an independent marine research center. Currently, the organisation’s main objectives are coral reef research, restoration, and the development of coastal communities. The students’ vision of a betterworld and healthier ocean fits perfectly with IBF and Reef Support’s ultimate goal: coral reef restoration. That is why a few months ago a collaboration was created between all parties to restore 500m² of coral reef in Central Indonesia before August 2022. This is project Reef SupportxIBF. 


Since the 1950's, more than half of the coral reefs in our whole world have ceased to exist and if this trend continues, we will have lost or severely damaged over 90% of the worldwide coral reefs. 25% of marine life will cease to exist because of the dying coral reefs. Moreover it will cause serious threats for the human population. The coral reefs support almost one billion people via income, food, medicine, tourism and protection against extreme waves. The UN has declared 2021 to 2030 both theDecade on Ecosystem Restoration and the Decade on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. So, there is no time to wait.


After a long but mandatory stay in a quarantine hotel for a couple of days upon their arrival in Indonesia, the healthy students were finally able to meet IBF’s incredible team and spend the weekend getting to know each other on the beautiful island of Lombok. One unlikey fellow got stuck behind in Jakarta due to complications in a difficult time to travel and faced multiple hurdles to get the island, that took a lot of dedication on his part! Upon arrival and on the agenda: a beach cleanup, sea-grass lectures, various fun team building activities, and of course enjoying the warm weather...something that the students don’t have the opportunity to enjoy much back in Delft. During the next few days, Alexandru, Joppe, Tadé and Xavier participated in lectures on coral reef ecosystems and slowly got ready to build the coral lab. With great joy and professionalism they finalized the budget plans, designed sketches of the lab and met up with the local builders.


To ensure coral reef regrowth, two effective methods will be used in the lab: ‘micro-fragmentation’ and ‘assisted evolution’. Micro-fragmentation can help regrow corals up to 50 times faster as in their natural habitat. Assisted evolution allows these regrown reefs to deal with higher water temperatures and higher acidity in the oceans. Ultimately, after assisting the corals to regrow faster in the lab and restore them in the ocean, the reefs will be more resilient to the effects of climate change and pollution.

First Render of the Lab with 4 tanks


In the coming days, the students will be quite busy. Albeit being in a paradisiacal environment, the boys are indeed working hard to build the lab. It can be expected that the building of the lab will take place quite soon. The plan is also for the students to get their scuba diving certificates (also called Professional Association of Diving Instructors Certifications) in order to help IBF with the restoration process after the building is done. We truly hope they get the certificate as soon as possible and join the divers of the world.


ReefSupportxIBF possesses the skill and knowledge to regrow these corals, but not yet nurturing equipment to initiate their project. This equipment consists of a reef tank in which the coral reefs will be nurtured and the climate can fully be controlled. In these tanks, young coral can grow, after which they are replanted into the sea. There they will continue to grow in their natural habitat. In total we need €5000: €4800 for the tanks, which costs €1200 each. The spare €200 is required for shipment and installation of the tanks. Any amount counts. It really does make a difference. So please, feel free to donate to thes students’ worldwide crowdfunding campaign via the link found below.

This project is a project very close to our hearts at Reef Support. It isn’t only about helping coastal communities in their effort to monitor and restore the reefs but also about fostering Dutch-Indonesian relations!


If like us you are fond of corals and want to save these beautiful creatures already, which are so important to our ecosystem, the Indonesia Biru Foundation gives you the opportunity to adopt your own coral spider. And what is even cooler is that they will tag your name personally on it and give you a monthly report of its coral growth!

So… what are you waiting for? Visit https://indonesia-biru.com/ and adopt a coral!

Written by Maëlle Picout - 26/11/2021

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