Project CELS – Circular Economy of Limpets Shells
It is recognized that limpet is a product with great demand: only in Madeira Island 150 to 180 tons are consumed annually. However, only 30% of the weight of a limpet is edible, while the other 70% becomes waste. This represents approximately 100 tons of shells that are sent to landfills or burned with unsorted waste per year in Madeira alone. By comparison this would be about 350 tons of waste in Macaronesia and Europe from one mollusc alone. This waste can be transformed into a useful resource with greater value-added. Our aim is to create a new value chain to reuse this waste in other industries, thus entering the circular economy. The consortium will study the legal and regulatory constraints when addressing both a food delivery and a waste collection service. We will also address the practicalities of shell collection and mineral extraction processes, and assess the materials and develop an exploitation plan for the mentioned dimension. The dissemination and management of the project is also included in the work plan. Under this project GL will be the main supplier of the product, as such it will focus on the breeding of limpets for human consumption, and establishing the distribution chain of the live mollusc and the collection of shell waste that, after appropriate processing, can be marketed to the relevant industry. At the end of the project, GL will have implemented the capacity to produce and supply a high-value product based on the limpets’ shells. Nofima is a research institute in Norway with extensive experience in aquaculture waste management and materials studies. They have the knowledge and equipment to process and evaluate the waste material, and how best to exploit it. Together, we will produce tangible results in scientific discovery, namely by identifying biomaterials that can be extracted from shells and their use in different industries: medical, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, as well as civil engineering. In addition, we will establish a large-scale plan to process the immense waste that is produced and transform it into valuable materials. Overall, this research will contribute to two main goals, on the one hand benefiting the environment by leading to a much-needed reduction of waste, and on the other hand having an impact on the overall quality of life by introducing innovative materials that can be used in agriculture, medicine and the pharmaceutical industry such as fertilisers, organic glues for surgery, or medical implants made with calcium from shellfish. The partnership is synergetic, as GL has the ambition to continue investigating future uses of limpets and other shellfish together with Nofima. The use of these materials, for example for medicine, represents a field of investigation for many years of collaboration. In a broader sense, we hope that this partnership can contribute to further materials research and long-lasting scientific collaborations to improve food and waste value chains. Project funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through EEA Grants. Our promotional video of the project can be found here:
Through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are partners in the internal market with the Member States of the European Union. As a means of promoting a continued and balanced strengthening of economic and trade relations, the parties to the EEA Agreement have established a multi-annual financial mechanism, known as EEA Grants. EEA Grants are aimed at reducing social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthening bilateral relations between these three countries and the beneficiary countries. For the period 2014-2021, a total contribution of €2.8 billion has been agreed for 15 beneficiary countries. Portugal will benefit from a sum of €102.7 million. Find out more at eeagrants.gov.pt Funding support under the Blue Growth Programme, through the operators Ministry of Economy and Sea and DGPM.