Azores EcoBlue will develop new textile fibers from marine litter

  • May 18, 2022 | by AIR Centre

AZORES EcoBlue, a project recently funded by the EEA Grants and the Directorate-General for Maritime Policy, was presented on May 5th, 2022 at TERINOV to an audience which include representatives from the regional government.

The project will explore the concept of circular and blue economy with a strong component of innovation applied to the development of new by-products and raw materials, from plastic waste and surplus from the sea and fishing sector. Marine litter has been already quantified and classified on the coast of Azores islands and with the support of local communities, Azores EcoBlue will collect marine litter to develop new yarns and fibers. This pilot project will kickstart on the Azores islands, specifically in São Miguel, Terceira and Faial islands and planned to expand to other islands and “beyond borders”.

The regional secretary for the Environment and Climate Change of the Azores, Alonso Miguel, highlighted the importance of this type of initiative in combating a “very significant” problem for the region. The AIR Centre was represented by João Pinelo, Head of Data Science, Cloud Infrastructure, and Development, who gave a brief talk on the AIR Centre activities within the project. These will focus on collecting and identifying existing databases of spectral signatures of marine litter from multrispectral and hyperspectral payload sensors as well as databases of plastic hotspots available from the European and worldwide initiatives and projects allowing to setup the registering process to collect data.

AZORES EcoBLue is a European partnership of 8 entities with complementary skills for the generation of scientific and technological knowledge (Universidade do Minho and Okeanos – Universidade dos Açores), entities with knowledge and services ready to integrate the project (Visual Thinking and AIR Centre), a Business Association | Chamber and Commerce and Industry (AEP – Associação Empresarial de Portugal), a Science and Technology Park in the Azores (PCTTER – Associação Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia da Ilha Terceira | TERinov), with extensive experience in assisting the development of new businesses and projects and an Innovation Center from Iceland (Innovation Center Iceland). The project is led by Circular Blue, Lda. (the managing company of the Nieta Atelier brand) which is dedicated to the area of ​​architecture and Eco Design, responsible for the creation of innovative products with export potential that have in their genesis a constant concern with the Circular Economy and Environmental Sustainability.