The H2020 call CE-FNR-09-2020: "Pilot action for the removal of marine plastics and litter" asks for demonstration of systems, approaches and technologies that can clean the seafloor, sea column, and surface waters, from historically accumulated plastics and micro-plastics as well as from other accumulated marine litter. Maritime Robotics has the COTS Otter USV, for which we have developed a prototype surface-water marine litter collection system. Within the H2020 project, we want to further develop that system and bring it to TRL7, such that we can both demonstrate the technology in the project, but also bring it to market. Furthermore, we see potential in this call to collaborate with EU partners to develop a tow body for finding marine litter on the sea floor, and developing a prototype system for collection this litter as well.
The R&D challenges involve considering the best mechanisms for both collecting, but also disposing, of the marine litter, and creating robust and reliable systems. In particular for the seafloor litter, this is still at a lower TRL, and requires more R&D efforts.