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Sardinian sheep’s wool for healthy seas

On March 22 of this year the project-cum-workshop “Biolanclean innovative products made of 100% pure wool from sheep native to Sardinia as a means to absorb and biodegrade petroleum hydrocarbons” was presented as a world premiere in Cagliari.

It is a topical issue as operational spills, i.e. the refuelling of vessels which takes place every day in the fishing, tourism and freight transport industry, causes 25% of total marine pollution. This environmental problem is almost invisible and attracts no media attention even though it causes three times as much pollution as spills that occur due to accidents on ships, oil tankers and oil plants (8%).

The project “Sustainable innovations for healthy seas and an Architecture of Peace without oil and pollutants” focuses on the development of a natural healthy seas product line consisting of the depollution products ‘Salvamare‘, ‘Geolana‘ and ‘SeaCleanup‘.

The line was developed and implemented by the Department of Biomedical Sciences, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture of the University of Cagliari together with industrial partner Edizero based in Guspini (province of Medio Campidano) as part of a University-enterprise joint development project called ‘innova.re’ (Innovazione in Rete, funded by the 2007-2013 Regional Operational Programme of the European Regional Development Fund).

These ‘oil-eating’ and ‘poison-eating’ absorbers – real floating oil absorbing water-repellent barriers – in the shape of sausages, cushions, sleeves and buoys are the first in the world that are able to naturally carry out (with no additives) the two tasks of absorbing and biodegrading petrochemical hydrocarbons and other pollutants for the benefit of healthy clean seas that protect biodiversity. One need only consider that 1 kg of Geolana – according to the specific weight of the compound – absorbs 8-14 kg of petroleum derivatives or nitrogen pollution.

This figure should then be multiplied each time it is used; thanks to its resilience it can be reused up to five times.
Salvamare, Geolana and SeaCleanup are made from renewable local materials and are produced in Sardinia, a land of great pastoral tradition.