Portuguese project supported by ESA Space Solutions aims to clean up the Azores ports

Portos dos Açores, the port authority of the Azores, will be the first to test the environmental monitoring solutions developed within the scope of the PORT XXI – Space Enabled Sustainable Port Service project.

  • March 10, 2021 | by AIR Centre

The PORT XXI – Space Enabled Sustainable Port Service project aims to develop and implement monitoring and environmental management solutions, in order to improve the management of complex activities and achieve zero pollution in the ports of Azores. PORT XXI, has a duration of 12 months and funding from the European Space Agency (ESA), the project is led by INESC TEC and brings together several regional entities: Azores Ports, AIR Center and Amberjack Solutions.

This project comprehends two dimensions: the environmental aspect and the element related to port activities, thus providing several advantages. On the one hand, real-time monitoring solutions will ensure a wider coverage of water and air quality parameters. On the other hand, the forecasting tools will enable a better planning of the port activities, and automate tasks that were exclusively manual until quite recently”, explained Aníbal Matos, a researcher at the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), and lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP).

The study will resort to several sources of information, like Earth Observation via satellite, and meteorological, oceanographic and CCTV data, while extracting knowledge from said data, through Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. It will rely on automated robotic solutions and resort to communication and satellite navigation infrastructures – under normal operating conditions, as well as during extreme weather events, thus assessing the impact of climate change. In environmental terms, this project addresses several issues related to water (oil and plastic spills) and air (COx, SOx, NOx, PM10, PM2.5) quality.

The AIR Centre, an international scientific network distributed across the Atlantic, is at the origin of this project. Its participation is through the ESA_Lab@Azores based in Terceira Island, where the use of solutions based on Earth Observation technologies for the monitoring and control of pollution in ports will be studied. For this purpose, data from the Copernicus program will be used, which make it possible to monitor air quality and the oceans on a global scale, simultaneously contributing to achieve the environmental targets established for 2030 by the European Union. With these initiatives, the AIR Center offers essential tools to achieve environmental sustainability and promote technological development in the region.

INESC TEC is the entity leading this project, in charge of port management systems, Artificial Intelligence and autonomous marine robotics. The project also includes the Air Center, which will study the use of solutions based on Earth observation technology, for monitoring pollution in ports; IN +, in charge of the economic impact analysis; the Portos dos Açores, as end users, and MONIPORT and David Mendes/Amberjack Solutions, the providers of environmental monitoring and management services

In addition, other relevant port authorities and entities were invited to participate in the User and Stakeholder Group (USG), with many already showing significant interest: the port of Huelva, ENAPOR – Ports of Cape Verde, and the ports of Aveiro, Lisbon, Setúbal and Sesimbra; the Portuguese Ports Association (APP); governmental entities (the Azores Government, FRCT – Regional Foundation for Science and Technology and SEMA – Bahia State Environment Secretariat); business entities (Maritime Cluster of the Canarias and EMERGE), as well as training entities (UTA – Technical University of Atlantic – Cape Verde).

ESA co- funds the project through Business Applications, part of ESA Space Solutions. This program serves as a launching pad for innovative ideas in different areas of society and the economy. The main objective is to support European entrepreneurs in the development of their business, using satellites and space technologies, with a view to improving the quality of life.

For further inquiries:
Eunice Oliveira
T +351 22 209 4118
M +351 934 224 331

Pedro Silva
ESA_LAB@Azores, AIR Centre
T+351 295 249 419