Norwegian Spill Response Firms Take Aim at Ocean Plastic

File image courtesy NOSCA member NOFO

Published Nov 8, 2019 10:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

A consortium of Norwegian researchers and environmental response companies plans to use oil spill response technology to clean up ocean plastic and other marine waste. The group, which calls itself "Clean Oceans," has been designated an "Arena cluster project" by the Norwegian government's R&D agency, Innovation Norway. 

The consortium will apply Norwegian oil spill prevention and response technology to help solve the challenges of plastic and other marine waste in oceans and waterways. It has its roots in the Norwegian Oil Spill Control Association (NOSCA), the professional forum for Norwegian oil spill prevention and response companies. Well-known members include Sintef, Framo, Kongsberg Satellite, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and Equinor, among many others.

“The members of NOSCA have for years been developing successful systems for oil spill prevention and response," says Christian Testman, Managing Director of Ocean Visuals and Chairman of the Board of NOSCA. "This process has, however, involved a lot of trial and error and new lessons learned. The results of their efforts can now be translated into commercial systems for collecting marine waste. In Norway, we are already the world leaders for oil spill prevention and response. The position as the world leader for systems to collect marine waste and plastic in the oceans has not yet been taken. We’re going to take it."

The Clean Oceans cluster is now part of the Norwegian Innovation Clusters programme, led by Innovation Norway, Siva and the Research Council of Norway. The competitive program consists of 20 "clusters" of companies seeking to innovate cooperatively over the long term.

“We chose the name Clean Oceans because our challenge is now much more than just oil pollution. The problem of plastic in particular is hyper-relevant, but we’ve also recently seen the extremely harmful effect of toxic algae. We have the knowledge and experience to produce groundbreaking results. Our new status as a cluster will help us obtain financing so that we can start hiring our own employees,” said Geir Christian Helgesen, a board member of NOSCA and marketing director for Framo.