First line response to oil spills based on native microorganisms cooperation

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Project abstract

The overall aim of the SpilLess project is to pilot new and viable solutions to tackle maritime pollution, in particular oil spills.

These solutions will be based on the production of native organisms with bioremediation capacity, and the adaptation of unmanned and autonomous vehicles for the application of bioremediation treatments. By doing so, these systems can be used as first line responders to pollution incidents in a fast, efficient and low cost way.

Such innovative solutions aim to:

  • be environment-friendly, by using native organisms to naturally degrade oil spills, and thus avoiding the introduction of additional chemical or biological additives;
  • integrate first line responses to oil spill incidents, by using unmanned and autonomous vehicles, which are able to operate under unfavourable and harsh conditions with low human intervention;
  • set-up holistic pollution combat missions, by jointly combining air, surface and underwater vehicles;
  • increase the overall efficiency of the oil spill combat missions, by acting on defined targets and areas;
  • offer valuable data, by equipping the vehicles with sensors, which can perform environmental monitoring (before, during and after oil spill combat missions);
  • decrease the overall time to reaction and mission costs, by using unmanned and autonomous vehicles, whose deployment is faster and less costly than using boats, planes or helicopters.

The project aims to develop marketable services and products, such as, microbial consortia for bioremediation, a cocktail of additives to stimulate the consortia activity, devices for application of bioremediation treatments by unmanned and autonomous vehicles, and an integrated protocol for bioremediation application. Market analyses, technology watch reports, and exploitation and business plans will be developed, in order to exploit the project results and to bring the technologies to the market.

The projects builds on results from earlier EU projects developing automated vehicles/robots (ICARUS, TURTLE).

Project duration
Project acronym
Call ID
EASME/EMFF/2016/ - Blue Labs - innovative solutions for maritime challenges
Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR), Porto, Portugal
Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência (INESC TEC), Porto, Portugal
University of Vigo (UVIGO), Vigo, Spain
Marlo a.s (MARLO), Drøbak, Norway
ACSM Agencia Marítima S.L. (ACSM), Vigo, Spain
EU contribution

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