The project is structured in 11 work packages
WP1 – Literature review
The objective of this WP is to gather information related with the types of plastics found in rivers, how plastics are transported and how important are processes like fragmentation and weathering. This information will form the basis for modelling and design of the MARC.
WP2 – Macroplastics fragmentation and degradation into microplastics
The objective of this WP is to analyze the data related with plastic particles found in literature and other sources, conduct experiments for investigating fragmentation and finally classify the particles into groups, depending on size and density and shape. The different classes and outcome of this WP will be used as input parameter for the further modelling step.
WP3 – Hydraulic transport of plastics in rivers
The objective of this WP is to optimize the location of the cleaner via numerical modelling. An existing hydrodynamic model of the Scheldt estuary will be used as a baseline and extra code developments related with the behavior and transportation of plastic items will be implemented. The output of the model will be a spatial distribution of different types of plastics and will be used to determine the optimal location for positioning the MARC cleaner.
WP4 – Optimisation of bubble screens
The objective of this WP is to develop a numerical tool (Computational Fluid Dynamic CFD model) for the prediction of efficiency of air bubble screens under different parameters. A test matrix with cases with different boundary conditions, varying upstream flow velocity, channel width, air volume flow rate, air pressure and plastics item properties will be simulated. The outcome from the test matrix simulations will be a ‘map’ of combinations of conditions under which plastic items with specific properties can be sufficiently captured. The required air flow and pressure per unit length will be used as input parameters for the determination of the power that is needed for the compressor at the design phase of the MARC.
WP5 – Monitoring system
The objective of this WP is to develop an inline sampling system for monitoring the plastic fluxes in the water column. With this system the river flux can be compared with the mass collected by MARC leading to a direct, online registration of the efficiency, communicated via real-time data transmission.
WP6 – Zero net energy consumption
The objective of this WP is to design a zero net energy system that will be used to power the MARC. The system will be based on three different complementary power sources: Solar (photovoltaic), wind and currents (hydropower) in order to ensure operations without external power input. If needed energy will be stored in battery systems. For each expected location, an electrical load balance for different operating conditions will be calculated and the electrical power to be provided by photovoltaic solar panels and by axial wind turbines will be defined. A concept based on existing turbines will be developed to allow for harnessing hydrokinetic energy from shallower water and lower resource site and provide this energy to the system.
WP7 – Design
The objective of this WP is to develop the concept of the hardware of the MARC by integrating all the essential components and assuring its operation and to define the Total Cost of Ownership for future commercialization. The mechanical system will be dimensioned and designed to get plastic out of the water and to bring it to the transport system on board of the MARC. The inline monitoring system developed in previous steps will be integrated in the waste collecting system. The collector will be combined with two conveyor belt systems to evacuate the waste. The complete system will be installed on a floating platform that can be positioned on every possible location with a minimum of modifications. The structure with spud piles will be designed in order to carry all the mechanical systems, the power generation and distribution systems and to allow for easy access for maintenance activities. The structure’s strength and stability will be verified to ensure safe operations.
WP8 – Workability in rivers and ports
The objective of this WP is to assess the accessibility, operability and maintainability of the MARC installation, based on the vicinity of infrastructure and support in the preferred location that the plastic collected will be positioned, through a series of workshops involving various experts. Any limitations of the system with respect to wave heigh, current velocity and tidal ranges will be assessed by using and evaluating the developed models. Herbosch-Kiere, a hydraulic contractor, will provide complemented practical and operational expertise and review the research outcome as a subcontractor.
WP9 – Case Study
The objective of this WP is to set-up an extensive virtual case for operations of the cleaner. A Digital Twin of a MARC system will be implemented, mimicking the design and optimisation for application in the Scheldt River. The case study in the Scheldt River will bring forward any overlooked practical aspects or missing links in the methodology for site-specific optimization and design. If technical issues are identified these will be solved and introduced in the concept as improvements.
WP10 – Environmental Impact Assessment and Risk analysis
The objective of this WP is the preparation of a checklist with a number of aspects that will become part of a multi-criteria analysis which will be used to determine optimal location for a MARC in remote areas and developing countries. The analysis will include environmental impact analysis as well as operational and technical risk analysis. This checklist is of great importance since in these areas a greater level of redundancy is required and possible hazards can result in different and mostly bigger consequences. Thus, additional effects on operability, maintainability and risks must be taken into consideration.
WP11 – Dissemination & commercialization
The objective of this WP is to advertise the system worldwide in order for the MARC to become a successful business. During the DeMARC project, already from the start, actions will be planned to disseminate and increase the visibility of the project such as the creation of a dedicated website, posts on social media, scientific publications, presentations on conferences, press releases and newsletters by each partner. Finally, and prior to the completion of the DeMARC project agreements between partners will be made regarding the joint commercialisation strategy that will be followed for selling to the market the plastic waste collection solutions.