SEAMATTER

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REVALORIZATION OF COASTAL ALGAE WASTES IN TEXTILE NONWOVEN INDUSTRY WITH APPLICATIONS IN BUILDING NOISE ISOLATION

The main objective of SEA-MATTER is to demonstrate and validate the reuse of coastal algae and seaweed accumulations as raw materials in composites industry. This particular kind of natural residues will find application in non-woven textile industry so materials derived from marine biomass will become a sustainable textile reinforcements suitable to be implemented in composite industries, specifically as acoustic panels in buildings.

Algae and seaweed accumulations on beaches and along our coasts are an environmental nuisance; this biomass emits unpleasant odors, promotes mosquitos and their rotting contribute to increase the high mortality in shellfish beds as they turn into rubbish. City Councils of the coastal areas are required to remove them if they want to remain their touristic conditions and their Blue Flag Beach category (FEE-Foundation for Environmental Education). It is important to remark that sand is also removed when algae residues are collected so, year by year the beach goes back and must be regenerated applying new sand. For this reason, currently the most widely adopted practice is to leave the algae residues in the coasts in winter and collect them in summer when tourists make massive use of the coastal areas. Generally, this actuation takes place within the Integrated Management System where all the marine accumulations are managed as urban solid wastes and are deposited in a landfill and/or incinerated.

 

EXPECTED RESULTS:

It is expected to obtain a general application procedure to apply marine wastes as reinforcement in noise isolation composite panels. This procedure will be started with an effective and clean collection and transport system that prevents the erosion of the beaches and that does not generate new sub-wastes. In addition, this procedure will be focused on an innovative wet-laid technology application to algae and seaweed  revalorization in order to obtain non-woven structures. These new natural structures will be used as reinforcement of polymeric matrix from natural origin in acoustic isolation composites.

This Waste Management procedure will consider the means for reusing algae and seaweed wastes, and the economical benefits (related management and  energy waste costs) to coastal municipalities implementing the procedure developed in a near future.. We expect to reduce the marine waste disposal in a 15% and to revalorize the actual wastes in at least 30% (maybe more) avoiding the municipalities an expensive problem, due to such natural wastes are managed as urban solid wastes.

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