The marGnet prototype testing – excellent results
Despite COVID 19 emergency, prototype testing was commenced in 2020 and delayed only due to the lockdown period. Representative samples of marine litter from Venice lagoon were selected for marine fuel synthesis within the scope of the project.
Initial results are very promising: the oil yield was always above 50 wt%, unless when nylon was the main component and overall yield was thus reduced.
Analysis of produced fuel is still not completed but it is showing good results with regards to the quality. There are 3 types of fuel that can be produced from ML by using the prototype: high quality light fuel which can even be effectively used as feedstock for the manufacturing of new virgin polymers, marine gas oil which is the main targeted fuel of the project and intermediate fuel oil (IFO). Therefore, very limited or even no off-spec fuels are globally collected. Acidic number of fuels produced is low, so they can be blended very easily with standard fuels.
Preliminary analysis on emissions are also very positive since no polluting substance was identified, confirming the right assumptions during the design phase.
Further testing will be performed to consolidate the initial results and collect useful indication for process improvement in presence of large number of polyamides in the feedstock. Significant samples of products will be analyzed by specialized laboratories to check their correspondence to technical standards.
Clean the beach where you can reach!
During the month of May, as a part of the marGnet project activities we planned to organize the coastal and underwater cleanup activities at the island of Lošinj. Unfortunately, due to the corona virus situation this was not possible. Although human activities are currently reduced to a minimum, the nature doesn’t stop, all processes continue, and waste is still here.
Since it was not possible to organize large cleanup activities with a lot of participants, we launched the challenge ‘Clean the beach where you can reach!’. Through our social networks and local media we invited individuals –’If you decide to spend your free time in nature, with family and/or friends, we invite you to take a pair of gloves and a garbage bag with you when walking along the coastline and pick up the waste you come across at the beaches. In a team of up to 5 people, you can safely and responsibly collect waste and proudly clean one of the beaches.’
We encouraged the participants to take a photos of their actions, of the beach before and after and of the waste collected. Those that sent us their photos and videos, their impressions and information about the collected wast, received a small motivational gift from us. Altogether more then 20 participants got involved and cleand 6 locations on the Lošinj coast.
The ‘marGnet’ project Mid-term Scientific Meeting
The ‘marGnet’ project team members from Blue World Institute participated on 5th of February at the Mid-term Scientific Meeting hosted by CNR-ISMAR in Venice. The aims of this event was to present the mid-term achievments of the ‘marGnet’ project to scientists and stakeholders working in the fields of mapping of the sea-floor, modelling of the marine litter accumulation hotspots and recycling of the marine litter. This meeting was also opportunity for the 60 participants to exchange their experience and knowledge on these topics. We believe that the outcomes of this event will contribute to better understanding and some new solutions for the problem of marine litter on the sea-floor.
The ‘marGnet’ project at ECOMONDO
On 7th of November 2019 the ‘marGnet’ project was presented at EASME stand on the ECOMONDO 2019 – Green technology EXPO in Rimini, Italy. Project coordinator Fantina Madricardo was also invited to participate at the workshop organized by EASME as panelist at the session on Plastics. The aim of this session was to showcase some of the front-running EU projects funded by Horizon 2020, EMFF, LIFE and EIC, which developed innovative solutions for plastics waste prevention, product design and recycling. The session was organised in two panels, focusing on 1) the role of stakeholder engagement in tacking plastics prevention and pollution; and on 2) new solutions for improving recycling. The session was highly successful and interactive, engaging a number of representatives from EU projects.
Another „marGnet“ local event – Clean up of the sea-floor at the Veli Lošinj Port, Croatia
On Saturday, 19th of October 2019 the Blue World Institute and our partners from Diving Centre SUB SEA SON have organized Dive clean up of the sea-floor at the island of Lošinj – at the Veli Lošinj Port and Valdarke Bay. This local event was organized as a part of the activities of the „marGnet“ project co-financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Office for Cooperation with NGOs of the Government of the Republic Croatia and Croatian Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund. This clean up action was the extend of the previous activities held in May 2019 when we had to stop the action because of the rain and the Veli Lošinj port remained uncleaned. Also, this time we wanted to finish job started in the bay of Valdarke and remove the large sunken pieces of the broken ponton construction. Using the baloons we managed to lift the 5 m long metal rail on the surface and tow it with the help of Eco Boat own by local waste management company.
The weather was very good this time and our 12 divers with the help of the 30 volunteers on the shore succesfully removed 5 m3 of the litter from the sea-floor. Among the garbage collected, highes number of items were 126 glass bottles with additional 78 glass fragments, 10 car tires, pieces of chains and ropes, 2 car batteries and variety of other objects that definitely don’t belong to the sea. For all the participants Mali Lošinj Tourist Office organized lunch.
The aim of this action was to increase public awareness on the problem of marine litter on the sea-floor and to promote healthy and sustainable living practices for protection of the marine environment by promoting the „marGnet“ initatives.
MarGnet project at Venetonight2019
On 27th September the ghost nets issue faced by marGnet and LIFE-GHOST projects was presented at Ca’Bottacin (University of Venice). Projects’ aims and possible solutions were illustrated to students and citizen though the art work “Trama di Fondo”, during the VenetoNight 2019 event, organised in the framework of the annual celebration European Researchers’ Night. All the art works of the exhibition “The Art of Marine Sciences”, presented last June during World Oceans Day celebration at ISMAr, will be exhibited from 11th to 25th October 2019 at the M9 museum in Mestre (Venice).
marGnet project at ML-REPAIR final conference
On 10th September 2019 the final conference of the project “ML-REPAIR – REducing and Preventing, an Integrated Approach to Marine Litter Management in the Adriatic Sea” was held at the Santa Margherita Auditorium in Venice. During the event, the ML REPAIR team presented the joint activities developed in cooperation with local communities, coastal tourism and the fisheries sector to find solutions for marine waste issue. Different tools were presented and discussed together with external experiences from other projects with the aim of future applications in the Mediterranean area. Within this session, Fantina Madricardo was invited to present the multi-level solution approach of marGnet project.
WORLD OCEANS DAY
On Saturday June 8th, the Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR-CNR) organized a public event at its headquarters in Venice, in collaboration with the Art Academy of Venice, the Venetian Research and Innovation District, Science Gallery Venice and with the Museum of Natural History, to celebrate the #WorldOceansDay2019. During the event, the exhibition “The Art of Marine Sciences – Oceans portrayed by artists and researchers”, born from the collaboration between some students of the Venice Academy of the Arts and some CNR researchers, was presented to the citizens. Starting from the analysis of some environmental issues, the artists have reworked the information in the light of their artistic sensibility, creating suggestive art-works that has been set up in the large atrium of the Institute of Marine Sciences. In the framework of this exhibition, an art-work related to the ghost net issue has been realized by two young and talented artists, Giulia Deganello and Erica Giacomazzi, who were supported from the scientific point of view by Nicoletta Nesto and Riccardo Fiorin from the marGnet team!
The first „marGnet“ local event – Clean up of the sea-floor and the coast at the island of Lošinj
On Saturday, 18th of May 2019 the Blue World Institute has organized clean up of the sea-floor and the coast at three bays at the island of Lošinj. This local event was organized for local community as a part of the activities of the „marGnet“ project co-financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Croatian Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund in cooperation with local diving centre Sub Season and Mali Lošinj Tourist Board. Despite rainy weather, 18 divers participated with the support from 30 volunteers on the boats and on the coast plus additional 12 volunteers cleaning the adjacent beaches. In total, during the 3 hours of the action, 2t or 10 m3 of garbage was collected – car tires, glass bottles, fiber-glass pieces from the sinking boats, fenders, abandoned fishing pots and ropes, parts of the sunken pontoon. For all the participants we organized lunch and the presentations of the related topics – „Ecology of marine turtles and the threat of marine litter“ and „Underwater archeological sites at the Lošinj Archipelago“ with the visit to the Museum of Apoxyomenos.
The aims of this action were to improve status of marine environment in the intervention area by reducing the amount of marine litter (ML), increase public awareness on the problem of ML on the sea-floor and to promote healthy and sustainable living practices for protection of the marine environment by promoting the „marGnet“ initatives. Due to impressive results, good cooperation between our partners and great feedback from the participants, we are planning to continue with the organization of similar actions in the near future.
Pettition to change the Italian regulation on collecting marine litter from fishing boats
The „marGnet“ consortium supported the pettition of „Let the Fishermen Clean the Sea“ organized by a group of Italian environmental NGOs to promote changes to the Italian regulation on collecting marine litter from fishing boats. This initiative was the result of the „Clean Archipelago“ project initiated by the NGO Legambiente and Supermarket Chain Unicoop, Firenze. One of the aims of this project was to combat the problem of marine litter.
The pettition was started with the intention change current Italian legislation that encouraged Italian fishermen to discard any waste, that was accidentally caught in their nets, back in to the sea. This was because the regulation required fishermen to pay for the cost of disposal if they brought it back to the harbour. Thanks to this petition, the proposal of a new law called „Salva Mare“ which allows fishermen to bring back marine litter for disposal free of charge in the harbour, has passed to the Italian Council of Ministers.
Finally, Italian fishermen will now be able to bring the marine litter to the coast and leave it in ecological islands that will be set up in the harbours. According to the “Salva Mare”, fishermen can also get an environmental certificate and their catch will be labelled as environmentally friendly.
Public presentation of the „marGnet“ project at „Blue Day“ event at Maritime School in Bakar, Croatia
The Maritime School in Bakar invited representatives of the Blue World Institute to present the „marGnet“ project at the „Blue Day“ event organized on the 29th of March 2019. This traditional event was organized by the oldest Nautical School in Croatia and has for the last 13 years aimed at increasing public awareness for the need to protect the marine environment. The main topic of this year’s event was „A Drop of the Sea“ referring to the Sea as a source of Life but also, underlining increasing problem of plastic pollution. Hence, the main focus of the presentations for 150 participants of the event was microplastics and problem of plastic pollution of the sea in general. The „marGnet“ project was presented as an „Inovative model for the solution of marine litter – EU project marGnet“. For us it was a great opportunity to interact with future generations of seamen.
Kick off Meeting
Representatives of all partner’s organizations participated in January in Venice at the Kick off Meeting of the „marGnet“ project (EASME / EMFF / 2017 / 184.108.40.206 / S2 / 05 / SI2.789314) funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund as part of the “Sustainable Blue Economy ” call. At the meeting, technical and methodological characteristics of the project activities were presented and numerous details of project implementation were agreed.
The objectives of the project are primarily to find innovative solutions for dealing with marine litter problems. The focus is on marine litter that is characterized as abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear and other waste generated at the sea floor as a result of various activities such as fishing and aquaculture. As part of the project, selected area of the sea floor will be mapped at the Venetian lagoon and in the Cres-Losinj archipelago by mean of combined multi-sensor high resolution acoustic methodes. In order to determine hotspots of marine litter on the sea floor on a wide scale predictive model, able to stimulate dispersion of the sinking marine litter will be developed.
Marine litter collected during various project activities such as measurements and mapping, as well as promotional dive clean up actions will be collected and the plastic parts will be recycled in an innovative manner in biodiesel fuel for the vessels. We expect the recycling process of the collected fishing nets and other marine plastic litter to be displayed and promoted to the general public during the Demonstration days that will be organized in Venice and Mali Losinj next year. We hope that the foreseen goals will be met and that some of the above-mentioned innovative technologies and solutions will one day find wider application in practice.