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Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.75M | Year: 2015

Data on seawater composition since the start of the Phanerozoic eon ~540 million years ago provide essential information for understanding long-term chemical processes of socio-economic dimension like the evolution of life, land-ocean interaction, atmospheric chemistry, ecosystem adaptation to climate change, oceanic trace metal cycling, and for applied geological processes like the formation of submarine energy resources. Although partly known this knowledge is still limited pending new methodical prospects and innovative analytical techniques. Following this approach, the proposed ETN BASE-LiNE Earth will train early stage researchers (ESRs) who will extend the knowledge of the complex and long-term Phanerozoic seawater history by the determination of original proxy information preserved in reliable ancient geological archives using cutting edge technologies and experimental approaches. In order to amplify this process the ESRs will be exposed to academic and non-academic high-tech institutions linking biogeochemical research and training in biology, ecology, geochemistry as well as chemical analytics to engineering and cutting edge analytical instrumentation. Multi- and interdisciplinary environments will expose our ESRs to highly demanded transferable skills increasing their employability when it comes to job application. BASE-LiNE Earth will offer societally important deliverables like time series of past trace element and isotope cycling and models about ocean material fluxes in and out of the Phanerozoic Ocean. This will be shared in publications, reports and exhibitions. Interactive lecturing material will be offered for education in general and specifically for high school teachers. Through collaboration with high-tech companies the ETN will contribute to establish both, new approaches for the exploration of hydrocarbon reservoirs and innovative and sophisticated analytical instrumentation for trace element and isotope measurements.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-11d-2015 | Award Amount: 5.99M | Year: 2015

There is a need to develop an autonomous, reliable, cost effective technology to map vast terrains, in terms of mineral and raw material contents which will aid in reducing the cost of mineral exploration, currently performed by ROVs and dedicated SSVs and crew. Furthermore there is a need to identify, in an efficient and non-intrusive manner (minimum impact to the environment), the most rich mineral sites. This technology will aid the seabed mining industry, reduce the cost of exploration and especially the detailed identification of the raw materials contained in a mining sites and enable targeted mining only of the richest resources existing. The ROBUST proposal aims to tackle the aforementioned issue by developing sea bed in situ material identification through the fusion of two technologies, namely laser-based in-situ element-analyzing capability merged with underwater AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) technologies for sea bed 3D mapping. This will enable resource identification done by robotic control enabled by the synergy between AUV hovering and manipulator capabilities. The underwater robotic laser process is the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), used for identification of materials on the sea bed. The AUV Robotic vehicle will dive, identify the resources that are targeted for LIBS scanning through 3D real time mapping of the terrain (hydro-acoustically, laser scanners, photogrammetry) and position the LIBS in the required locations of mineral deposits on the ocean floor to autonomously perform qualitative and quantitative analyses.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-01-2015 | Award Amount: 10.23M | Year: 2016

The objective of SponGES is to develop an integrated ecosystem-based approach to preserve and sustainably use vulnerable sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. The SponGES consortium, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of research institutions, environmental non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, will focus on one of the most diverse, ecologically and biologically important and vulnerable marine ecosystems of the deep-sea - sponge grounds that to date have received very little research and conservation attention. Our approach will address the scope and challenges of ECs Blue Growth Call by strengthening the knowledge base, improving innovation, predicting changes, and providing decision support tools for management and sustainable use of marine resources. SponGES will fill knowledge gaps on vulnerable sponge ecosystems and provide guidelines for their preservation and sustainable exploitation. North Atlantic deep-sea sponge grounds will be mapped and characterized, and a geographical information system on sponge grounds will be developed to determine drivers of past and present distribution. Diversity, biogeographic and connectivity patterns will be investigated through a genomic approach. Function of sponge ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, e.g. in habitat provision, bentho-pelagic coupling and biogeochemical cycling will be identified and quantified. This project will further unlock the potential of sponge grounds for innovative blue biotechnology namely towards drug discovery and tissue engineering. It will improve predictive capacities by quantifying threats related to fishing, climate change, and local disturbances. SpongeGES outputs will form the basis for modeling and predicting future ecosystem dynamics under environmental changes. SponGES will develop an adaptive ecosystem-based management plan that enables conservation and good governance of these marine resources on regional and international levels.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-15-2015 | Award Amount: 15.97M | Year: 2016

STEMM-CCS is an ambitious research and innovation project on geological carbon dioxide (CO2) storage that will deliver new insights, guidelines for best practice, and tools for all phases of the CO2 storage cycle at ocean Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) sites. It brings together the main operator (Shell) of the worlds first commercial scale full-chain ocean demonstration CCS project (Peterhead Project) with the leading scientific and academic researchers in the field of ocean CCS. The work performed in STEMM-CCS will add value to this existing operational programme, and fill gaps in future capability by providing generically applicable definitive guides, technologies and techniques informing how to select a site for CCS operations, how to undertake a risk assessment, how best to monitor the operations, how to provide information on fluxes and quantification of any leakage; necessary for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and to guide mitigation/remediation actions. All of this information will be used to better communicate the case for offshore CCS, with a particular focus on communities directly and indirectly impacted. During STEMM-CCS we will perform a simulated CO2 leak beneath the surface sediments at the site to be used for CCS as part of the Peterhead project. This experiment will be used to test CO2 leak detection, leak quantification, impact assessment, and mitigation/remediation decision support techniques currently at the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) stage 4-5 and support their development to a higher TRL. In addition, using new geophysical approaches STEMM-CCS will develop tools to assess leakage from natural geological features (e.g. chimneys) and engineered structures such as abandoned wells. The Peterhead project will commence during the life of STEMM-CCS and so a unique aspect is the focus on a real-world ocean CCS site covering its initial phases of implementation, with direct involvement of industrial partners.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP.2013.4.1-2 | Award Amount: 14.74M | Year: 2014

Earth provides natural resources, such as fossil fuels and minerals, that are vital for Europes economy. As the global demand grows, especially for strategic metals, commodity prices rapidly rise and there is an identifiable risk of an increasing supply shortage of some metals, including those identified as critical to Europes high technology sector. Hence a major element in any economys long-term strategy must be to respond to the increasing pressure on natural resources to ensure security of supply for these strategic metals. In todays rapidly changing global economic landscape, mining in the deep sea, specifically at hydrothermal vents and the vast areas covered by polymetallic nodules, has gone from a distant possibility to a likely reality within just a decade. The extremely hostile conditions found on the deep-ocean floor pose specific challenges, both technically and environmentally, which are demanding and entirely different from land-based mining. At present, European offshore industries and marine research institutions have some global advantage through their significant experience and technology and are well positioned to develop engineering and knowledge-based solutions to resource exploitation in these challenging and sensitive environments. However, against an international backdrop of state-sponsored research and development in sea floor resource discovery, assessment and extraction technologies, European operators are at an increasing disadvantage. Hence the recognised need to initiate pilot studies to develop breakthrough methodologies for the exploration, assessment and extraction of deep-sea minerals, as well as investigate the implications for economic and environmental sustainability. The Blue Mining project will address all aspects of the entire value chain in this field, from resource discovery (WP1) to resource assessment (WP2), from exploitation technologies (WP3) to the legal and regulatory framework (WP5).

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