Conserve and sustainably use the oceans,
seas and marine
resources for sustainable development

is GOAL 14 of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development
and it is also MAELSTROM’s compass and main inspiration.

WHAT DOES MAELSTROM DO?

Remove. Recycle. Give it new use. Repeat

MAELSTROM – MArinE Litter SusTainable RemOval and Management is a European Union funded project designed to develop and test sustainable technological solutions for the removal and treatment of litter within river ecosystems, intercepting litter before it enters the sea. Our action starts from modelling litter trajectories to identify its accumulation hotspots. We then proceed with an environmental assessment to understand how litter is impacting the surrounding ecosystem.

The second step it to implement one of the two MAELSTROM’s removal technologies – the Bubble Barrier and the underwater cable robot – for litter removal, either from the riverbed or the water column, depending on the river settings. In this way we can intercept litter before it reaches the sea. A second environmental assessment is then made to assess the impacts of the removal operation in the coastal ecosystem.

Waste won’t remain waste.

The removed litter will go through advanced recycling processes which will allow the regenerated materials to re-enter the industrial supply chain. Examples are chemical precursors, polymers and other materials useful for industrial purposes. Moreover, we will use a prototype based on low-temperature pyrolysis capable of producing second-generation fuel, which in turn will be used to power the removal technologies within the project… creating a self-feeding cycle!

January 2021 – December 2024
Duration

Horizon 2020
European Commission

Funder

H2020-FNR-2020
Food and Natural Resources

Call

CE-FNR-09-2020
Topic

5.988.295,63 €
Budget

Marine Litter, Coastal ecosystems,
Innovative Blue Growth Technology Areas,
Sustainable Blue Economy

Keywords

WORK PACKAGES

WP 1

Project management,
led by CNR-ISMAR

WP 2

Marine litter distribution and ecosystem assessment,
led by CNR-ISMAR

WP 3

Seabed and lower column cleaning technology cable-based robotic platform,
led by TECNALIA

WP 4

Surface/water column cleaning technology,
led by The Great Bubble Barrier®

WP 5

Marine litter removal in selected demo sites,
led by DELTARES

WP 6

Circular economy and sustainability,
led by TECNALIA

WP 7

Coordination and integration of blue technology for plastic strategy-oriented efforts,
led by CIIMAR

WP 8

Economic feasibility, social acceptance,
led by ALPHA Consult

WP 9

Dissemination, communication and exploitation of results,
led by CIMA Research Foundation

WHAT’S IN FOR ME

The protection of the environment requires multi-disciplinary efforts, bringing together science, technology, policy making and the active participation of each one of us, even if just through small daily gestures. For this reason, MAELSTROM will not only be a project exclusively based on science and technology, but also on the active engagement of citizens: find out how you can be part of the movement!

Clean up campaigns and Info days

Help us to clean the coasts: participate in the clean-up campaigns in Venice (IT), Porto (PO) and San Sebastian (SP) and meet our team for further support and information!

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EVENTS CALENDAR

If you are an active citizen and would like to help us, you can participate in one of our clean up campaigns. Several clean-ups will take place in the beaches of Italy, Portugal and Spain throughout 2021-2024. Discover when and where clean ups will take place and please come along. Be a marine little tackler by joining us!

JOIN THE FORUM COMMUNITY

If you are a practitioner, join our key expert forum discussing topics such as marine litter’s hotspots identification, removal and multiple recycling processes. The forum is designed to create networks among scientific, industrial, political and societal partners within the European Union. Be part of our policy-science-technology interface efforts!

APP FOR OPERATORS

If you are a recycling operator you can download the MAELSTROM’s app, designed to help you to identify the different types of plastic materials and to track the transformation processes of the removed litter. The app will cover each step of the waste management cycle, from removal to end-recycled products and it will be available in a few months. Stay tuned!

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PARTNERS

CNR-ISMAR leads the coordination and implementation of project’s activities. In collaboration with the Institute of Marine Engineering (CNR-INM), is also responsible for assessing the ecosystem’s state of Venice demo site, before and after the implementation of the underwater robotic system for seabed marine litter removal.

DELTARES leads the identification of litter accumulation hot spots using 3D hydrodynamic models. It also contributes to the implementation of cleaning solutions in the demo-site of Porto, through the surface water column removal technology – the Bubble Barrier.

UM-ISE provides the technology and expertise to co-power the Bubble Barrier removal system, through solar floating offshore or onshore platforms.

I.S.D.I Group supports the recycling solutions of the litter removed at the demo-sites, providing a new life to the materials retrieved in coastal areas and to the plastics not covered by thermal treatments.

GEES provides the expertise to waste processing authorizations and industrial compounds. It also develops the stakeholder’s software portal and mobile application.

VLPF plays a facilitation role between marine litter scientists, practitioners, and relevant public and private institutions related to the Venice’s demo-site and its Lagoon. It also liaises MAELSTROM with its twin project InNoPlastic.

CIMA Research Foundation leads the communication and dissemination activities, contributing to an effective stakeholders’ engagement and project visibility, while creating citizen awareness regarding marine litter impacts and behavior change.

TECNALIA develops the underwater cable-based robotic system for the removal of the seabed marine litter, as well as an Ai-driven robot to identify and remove the plastics from the collected litter.

ALPHA leads the Economic Feasibility, Social and Economic Impact work package, supporting partners in the implementation and exploitation activities, while providing key suggestions for a final commercial strategy.

CIIMAR leads the networking activities among existing European blue technologies and stakeholders in the field of marine litter. It also ensures the assessment and monitoring of the Bubble Barrier implementation at the demo site of Porto.

Servizi Tecnici provides industrial equipment and a specific floating platform designed to accommodate the underwater cable-based robotic system during on-site trials in Venice demo site.

The Great Bubble Barrier provides a technological solution based on a bubble curtain of air for plastic removal, co-powered by sustainable energy sources (solar panels) to be installed in the demo-site of Porto (TBC).

MAKEEN assesses the macro preprocessed plastic waste with a market-oriented approach, identifying specific pyrolysis treatments depending on the final products to be achieved.

CNRS-LIRMM provides its expertise in robotics and machine learning for the development of underwater cable-driven robots for waste removal.