MAELSTROM: at what point are we?
During long journeys as the one of MAELSTROM – which began in 2021 and is scheduled to end in 2024 – it is important to pause and understand where we stand!
MAELSTROM is structured around six main phases: through modeling, simulation and experimental campaigns we have started by localizing marine litter hotspots in our two pilot areas; this was followed by the characterization of the different types of waste materials present in those ecosystems which then took us to the collection phase where we are today.
One of our main concerns is to be able to collect litter from the seabed and from rivers, before it reaches the sea. To do this, our partners have developed two different technologies: a Bubble Barrier, which will be installed in the Northern Region of Portugal and a Robotic Seabed Cleaning Platform (here more information), being tested in these days in the Venice Lagoon, in Italy.
Both technologies are designed to be powered, at least in part, by sustainable energy, taking advantage of solar panels and second-generation fuel. They are also designed with a “no harm” approach, respecting the life forms that inhabit the natural ecosystems where they operate.
The litter collected with the Bubble Barrier and the Robotic Seabed Cleaning Platform will be the main player in the next phases of the project, which, in accordance with the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, will see them transformed into new materials and products – through both mechanical and chemical recycling processes – that will re-enter the market chain. As the project develops, we will be providing you more detailed information of each one of its phases!
Our motto is: Remove. Recycle. Give it a new use. Repeat. Will it be yours too?