The Project and its Objective
As the horizon 2020 program defined several priority challenges where targeted investment in research and innovation can have a real impact benefitting the citizen, the project was funded under the “Climate action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials” one.
EcoeFISHent was designed as an Innovation Action consisting mainly of “activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services”.
Hence, to demonstrate a replicable systemic and sustainable cluster for territorial deployment based on climate-neutral, circular economy inspired principles, by means of the creation of six multilevel and synergic circular value chains (CVCs) interconnecting blue and green economies to reconcile human industrial and economic activities with marine ecosystems and marine protected areas.
The project core concept moved from the design, development, and deployment of an innovative bio-mass pre-treatment, coupled with specific extraction technologies meant to enable sustainable and efficient utilization of fish processing side-streams (FPS) by obtaining bio-actives and galantine for high value-added food supplements and skin care products, biodegradable, and compostable barrier layer for food packaging. Furthermore, other fishing industry side streams will be targeted in order to transform their outcomes into fertilizers, biodiesel, components for cosmetic applications, polymer-based automotive constituents, and packaging for cosmetic products.
Such innovative outcomes will be made possible by means of a symbiosis systemic approach, with the creation of links inside different industrial domains: food supplements, cosmetics, packaging, bio-conversion products, soil improvers, automotive, looking beyond fishing and aquaculture to reveal synergies with stakeholders interested and possessing capabilities to derive and/or provide value from fishing and fish industry side-streams (FFS) and co-products (FCP).
The digital cluster
It was planned at proposal level that the Cluster, once defined and implemented, will make use of a cloud-based platform for its management activities, and will exploit the Internet of Things for secure, effective and efficient management its logistics infrastructure.
On top of this, critical and best scenarios for analysis of the cluster performance via dedicated KPIs will be made possible via a specific business model making use of a cluster digital twin, enabling the assessment of the cluster replicability in other geographic domains fostering prospective investments.
Last, proper stakeholders involvement will be pursued aiming at delivering specific actions for marine ecosystem preservation by means of modeling, best practices collection and application, technology scouting for relevant reduction of by-catch and for impacting the ghost gears critical issue. Overall employment of disadvantaged individuals within the cluster, as well as the pursuit of distributive justice criteria will be targeted via specific social and justice inclusion programs.