CO2 reduction in port development: solutions come from the sea

Nereidas EEi article

The magazine European Energy Innovation publish an article about Nereidas.

“The main objective of the Nereidas project is to offer a solution to make ports more efficient and to raise environmental awarness..”


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The implementation of the project Nereidas in the port of Melilla can be summarized in the following actions:
• Placement of roughness structures and techniques of development of growth of Ellisolandia elongata;
• Placement of degradable structures and planting of Cymodocea nodosa;
• Development of a EWS for the control and safeguarding of the plantations;
• Elaboration of a protocol that standardizes its use in other locations.

The CO2 emissions produced by maritime traffic and port activities can be compensated throught the ecological processes of planting and development of marine organism: in particular, in the Pilot in Melilla, were used the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa and the alga Ellisolandia elongata, widely distributed in the Mediterranean Sea. This compensation mechanism can be described as innovative in the field of marine, being an efficient tool for the capture of CO2, and to increase biodiversity. In contrast, currently used which relies primarily on preventive measures related to energy and fuel consumption reduction.

In order to identify diffuse pollution with in sufficient time and to safeguard this biological structure, it has been developed the Early Warning System (EWS): a tool able to monitor the parameters in the sea and to distinguish between normal variations, contamination events and differences in quality due to biochemical and physical interactions, with an ability to analyze and interpret results in real time and also includes data of others sources as water analysis.

The NEREIDAS module is able to send information about risks defined by e-mail, SMS to cell phones or through web alerts in near real time.

An example: an increase in the concentration of nutrients dissolved in water can accelerate the process of eutrophication of microalgae. The abundance of these algae leads to a significant reduction of dissolved oxygen in the water column. This reduction is especially big on the bottom of water column. The absence of photosynthesis process tackles the microalgae to respiration that eventually consume all the available dissolved oxygen. The generation of anoxic conditions makes reduce the pH and consequently can dissolve our CO2 sinks. The EWS, warns of danger, and can help to prepare some ad hoc measures before this happens.

The ultimate aim of Nereidas is exactly the design of a protocol for the implementation of preventive and compensatory measures about environmental damage related to maritime transport and port activities. Today, the market hosts many rules and guides with same denominator, “contribute to the mitigation of climate change”. Each one of them faces different challenges and scopes but no one comprises the purpose of this project. As it is widely known that who pollutes, pays and repairs, but is polluting. With this Protocol we amount to an additional turn of the screw, and propose to compensate this pollution.

The uniqueness of this Protocol, of good environmental practices for ports of the Mediterranean, is the new approach and special attention to biodiversity, to the survival of living beings and in turn offset pollution in ports. In addition, it is self-assessed and in turn issued, for the first time, to be developed and tested before going to market.