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March April 2019 Marina World

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ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCTS & INITIATIVES A pilot project at Cattolica enabled the team to improve its technology although it turned out to be a site with a great deal of silting issues. Din-Unibo, a municipal sub-contractor in the sponsoring Co-Evolve project. Other pilot projects have also been undertaken but only the Marina Cervia site has been selected to monitor the impact on marine habitat and evaluate operating and management costs. Engineer Giovanni Preda, project service, and research and development for Trevi Spa, is responsible for Life15 Marina Plan Plus. He explains how the project developed. “The technology was the idea of the Department of Industrial Engineering team of the University of Bologna and was developed independently by Ing. Saccani, professor of the department, who has patented it,” he says. Finance was provided via a start-up of regional funds, enabling tests in the laboratory, on the beach and in several small ports. As Trevi Spa had been collaborating for years with the engineering department at the university, the company was aware of the technology and, in 2014, together with the university, tried to finance the first industrial application courtesy of EASME. “But although it was considered to be fundable, the project was not financed,” Preda reveals. “This happened in 2015 when we represented it, after improving it upon the suggestions of the judges.” Trevi is coordinating all work for the Cervia project, and partners have specific roles. “The university’s industrial engineering department made the preliminary design of the plant, supported the installation, management and communications and, via the BIGeA marine biology department, monitors the different matrices present at the site. ICOMIA promotes it internationally thanks to its technical tables and those developed by European community directives. The Municipality of Cervia is involved in the financing of bathymetric activities and sediment analysis and in authorisation, upgrading of the electricity grid and the plans for replicating the project.” The environment is a significant factor. “The environment comes into play because it is a system that reduces or even eliminates the environmental impact of small Pumps visible at Cattolica. or medium sized ports by avoiding sedimentation and its management both at sea and on land,” Preda explains. “Moreover, this plant does not use mineral oils but electric energy and it doesn’t have moving parts or electric motors underwater. Everything technological – valves, mechanics etc – is on the land. Pipes with an 80mm [3in] diameter and ejectors of about 40cm [16in] diameter and a length of 60cm [24in] are the only parts that are underwater.” In Cervia, the new process removes the need for sediment clearance, which has taken place twice a year, but allows the sediment to be carried away by the current – with a little help. “We don’t push or pump water to create a counter-current but create a sort of space-time door. The ejector is a bit like an airbrush or car carburettor, a device that creates a depression around it that sucks up the mixture of solids and water and then moves it.” The pumps are powered as required and according to marine weather conditions. While the pilot projects in Riccione, Portoverde di Misano and Cattolica have enabled the team to improve the technology, the installation in Cervia will help to clarify costs. “We have learned that it is important to identify materials that cannot be attacked by salinity and the marine environment,” Preda notes. “In Cattolica, the port is on a river that is home to important organic matter. This means we had to clean the pumps and ejectors of a lot of marine materials and do an antifouling operation. Presumably, this would have to be done every few months and thus affects the costs. This didn’t happen in Portoverde, Riccione or Cervia.” Trials will continue in Italy with a view to exporting the concept to foreign investors. “Currently there are no financed or planned interventions. We received interest from a shipyard in the USA via ICOMIA but still have to build a relationship. Albert Willemsen, ICOMIA’s environment executive and our reference person, promoted this technology at a conference and the shipyard expressed much interest and we are seeing if we can meet up but, in principle, we are waiting for the results from Cervia before we push or invite people. In the European context, the University of Bologna has won Bluemed Eco Med Port funding, aimed at promoting the technology abroad, specifically in Tunisia, Lebanon and Greece.” - March/April 2019 35

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