”Modular Protection Shield System for Hazardous Substances in the Baltic Sea” – Baltic SHELLactive 1 week, 1 day ago
With great pleasure, we would like to invite you to participate in our innovative project titled “Modular Protective Shield System for Hazardous Substances in the Baltic Sea.” This project will be submitted under the announced call for proposals of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme, Priority 2 – Smart Societies Using Water, Program Objective 2.1 – Sustainable Waters. (Link – https://www.ewt.gov.pl/strony/o-programach/programy-interreg-2021-2027/aktualnosci/ocal-dno-baltyku-ruszyl-nabor-w-programie-interreg-region-morza-baltyckiego-2021-2027/).
The project aims to address one of the most serious issues affecting all Baltic countries, which concerns hazardous objects (shipwrecks, mines, containers with chemical substances, etc.) located in the sea, resting on the seabed, partially buried in sediment, or hidden behind underwater obstacles. According to the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), at least 100 wrecks in the Baltic Sea have been identified as high-priority wrecks, posing potential threats to the marine environment. The threat primarily arises from the high risk of leaking hazardous substances due to the deterioration of container materials, seabed movements caused by climate changes, or armed conflict risks. The consequence will be pollution and devastation of the sea basin and coastal areas’ ecosystems. Currently, deep-sea mine countermeasure systems, monitoring systems for physico-chemical and biological parameters, and hazardous substance concentrations are used for controlling and disposing of hazardous objects/substances.
The project aims to develop technology to safely neutralize hazardous substances. This will be achieved by using a protective shield designed to cover the hazardous object, preventing any potential leakage of harmful materials into the environment. The choice of neutralization method will be determined through a risk evaluation procedure, also developed as part of the project. To minimize risks to divers, underwater and floating unmanned vehicles will be employed to gather data for the risk assessment process. This data will be used to determine the shield’s size, the procedure for covering the object, and the method for neutralizing hazardous substances. Several neutralization methods will be employed, including: 1) Utilizing chemicals within the shield, 2) Extracting the entire object or parts of it to the surface for disposal, 3) Covering the objects and leaving them at the sea bottom if the first two methods pose a very high risk.
1. Development of the protective shield demonstrator to secure objects and minimize water pollution resulting from potential leaks of ammunition or hazardous substances. The technology will rely on existing shield modules, each equipped with sensors and an autonomous programmable system.
2. Establishing procedures for operating, monitoring, (re)building of the shield. The process of assembling and disassembling needs the automatization solutions in order to build shield over the object of different size and depth of the location. The goal is to reduce the risk to humans at every stage of the structure’s use – from assembly, through monitoring the effectiveness of the structure to its disassembly, and low costs of the transport and immersion of the structure.
3. Establishing operational procedures for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) to collect data necessary for decision-making. This includes assessing object size, hazardous substances, container condition, seafloor conditions, meteorological and oceanic conditions, and monitoring structural deformations and pollution propagation based on wave conditions, object and shield movement, both in laboratory and field conditions, among other relevant factors.
4. Establishing procedures for neutralization of the hazards in case of the leakage and within the shield.
5. Development of a risk assessment procedure (RAP) based on collected data and potential leak scenarios.
6. Validation of the demonstrator in three distinct locations across various countries, utilizing carefully selected objects.
7. Dissemination of project results through conferences, workshops, and the presentation of new standards applicable to local and regional activities related to sustainable development in the Baltic Sea.
The project’s outcomes will include:
1. Demonstrator and Technical Documentation – a demonstrator along with technical documentation, including standards and procedures for shield manufacturing, assembly, and disassembly.
2. Pollution Neutralization Standards – standards and procedures for pollution neutralization in case of leaks and within the shield.
3. Comprehensive Risk Assessment Methodology.
4. Monitoring standards and procedures for hazards and objects monitoring with the usage of UUVs and remote sensing methods.
We warmly invite Partners who can support the project with:
1. optimization of the shield construction design with AI solutions,
2. implementation of robotics and automation in the assembly and disassembly of the shield
3. floating and underwater unnamed vehicles operations with dedicated sensors.
4. Organization and providing test field locations in the Baltic Sea where the shield demonstrator can be placed and monitored.
5. development of common standards and procedures and implementation them into local, regional and national strategies and procedures.
6. cooperation and /or organization workshops and other events promoting demonstrator as well as elaborated standards and procedures for the end users.
We believe that through collaborative efforts and cooperation among various institutions and Baltic countries, we can create a solution that contributes to protecting the unique ecosystem of the Baltic Sea.
Due to the short deadline for submitting proposals to the mentioned program – complete project by October 5, 2023 – we kindly request a prompt response.