PLUXIN (Plastic Flux for Innovation and Business Opportunities in Flanders)
Innovative and automatic detection methods are needed to understand how much plastic ends up in the sea. These new methods complement already existing observation methods by means of nets and sediment collectors. The information obtained is essential to develop computer models that calculate the flow of plastic, identify accumulation zones and help understand the distribution of plastic in the water column.
The development of a two-dimensional-horizontal (2DH) distribution model of plastic is central to the PLUXIN project. This model will be calibrated and validated by means of experiments and samples collected during field tests. Reflection data of plastic waste, obtained via remote-sensing, will be identified by means of algorithms (‘machine learning’). This may lead to an automated detection method for plastic particles. In addition to the horizontal behaviour, the vertical movements of plastic particles in the water column will be identified using laboratory tests and in-situ sampling. This will include factors such as weathering, biofouling and fragmentation.
PLUXIN also elaborates on the potential of the project results for economic and social valorisation, and will lead to additional interdisciplinary innovation projects thanks to the close collaboration between the knowledge institutions and companies, as well as the newly obtained knowledge. The project will also offer a platform where knowledge institutions, companies, external scientists, policy makers and civilians can engage in a dialogue with one another to start future collaborations in the context of blue innovation in Flanders.