SEASLAG: A new biomaterial to regenerate marine ecosystems based on byproducts of the steel and agrifood industries

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The Technological Development Centre for Remote Acquisition and Data Processing Systems (SARTI) at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) participates in the SEASLAG project, which contributes to measurement and test systems to assess the characteristics of the biomaterials developed in the project, to regenerate marine ecosystems. This material incorporates byproducts from the metal and agrifood industries.

SARTI works on a project that is coordinated by the Catalan company Ocean Ecostructures, to combat the loss of marine biodiversity. The increase in coastal activity, maritime traffic and the dumping of waste in water are the main causes of this loss of biodiversity.

The SEASLAG project is focused on the research and development of a new sustainable material for the construction of environmental regeneration structures that enable the growth of marine biodiversity.

This biomaterial will recover byproducts from the steel industry, such as white slag, and from the agrifood industry, such as bivalve shells (for example, mussels or oysters) and eggshells. To obtain the new composite material in the form and dimensions required to promote the growth of marine ecosystems, 3D printing techniques will be used.

The aim of the SEASLAG project will be achieved by reaching the following specific technological targets:

  • Definition and development of the formulation of a biocompatible material that serves as a natural substrate for the growth of marine biodiversity that incorporates byproducts of the steel industry (white slag), aquaculture (bivalve shells) and poultry (eggshells).
  • Adaptation of the formulation of the new biocompatible composite material to 3D printing as a method for modelling and manufacturing the marine regeneration structures. This is based on BioBoosting System (BBS) technology developed by the company Ocean Ecostructures, to improve and optimise the recruitment and growth of marine biodiversity.
  • Validation of the new composite material based on the various byproducts aimed at the construction of BBS regeneration structures, through the installation and monitoring of growth and the evolution of marine biodiversity in two experimental locations: the underwater observatory (OBSEA) of SARTI at the UPC off the coast of Vilanova i la Geltrú, and the Puerto Marina Palamós.

As part of the SEASLAG project, during summer 2023 a pilot project began off the coast of Vilanova i la Geltrú, in the facilities of the OBSEA laboratory of SARTI at the UPC, to ensure the efficiency of the new material.


Budget and funding

The project is supported by ACCIÓ – the Agency for Business Competitiveness of the Catalan Government’s Department of Business and Work, through the Business Enterprise R&D Nuclis grants. Other participants include the company Barna Steel (a subsidiary of the CELSA group) and the Leitat Technology Center. The period of execution of the project is: July 2022 – July 2025.



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