SpilLess aims to implement an innovative ‘laboratory’ (Blue Lab) to pilot new and viable solutions to tackle with one of the most damaging sources of maritime pollution: oil spills. These solutions will be based on the production of native microbial consortia with bioremediation capacity, and the adaptation of unmanned and autonomous vehicles for in-situ release of autochthonous microorganisms (bioaugmentation) and nutrients (biostimulation).

This Blue Lab will have a multidisciplinary profile. It will be established by a team of young scientists, and supported by senior researchers from three institutions (CIIMAR, INESC TEC and the University of Vigo) and experienced business tutors from three private companies (ACSM, Biotrend and MARLO). Besides, the R&D team will be advised and mentored by a stakeholder’s platform that includes several public and private entities. SpilLess will be implemented in the region of the Atlantic Ocean, with potential for transferability to other regions facing similar challenges.

This solution will be environmental-friendly, will be able to act as fast first line response with low time to reaction and mission costs, will set-up holistic pollution combat and will provide environmental monitoring.

 Objectives &
Expected Results

Objectives

The main objectives of SpilLess project are:

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;
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;
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.

Expected impacts

The direct outputs of SpilLess are three: innovative products and one innovative service to bioremediate oil spills.

In addition the following impact indicators resume the expected impact of the SpilLess project:

Increased research activity in blue bioremediation in the northern region of Portugal and Spain
Increased implementation of native microorganisms as more efficient bioremediation agents
Promote stakeholders engagement in R&D processes
Arouse public awareness, through social media, related to the use of bioremediation as a nature based solution to respond to oil spills
Improved entrepreneurial skills of young scientists
Reduced costs of traditional clean-up actions for oil spills combat
Decreased negative impacts of oil spills on the marine environment and social-economic activities.