The idea is that the biofilter should be used in, for example, municipal water treatment plants to stop plastic particles from getting into the sea.
Most plastics, that end up as marine debris, do not biodegrade, which means they are destined to break into smaller and smaller pieces, known as micro-plastics. Microplastics are generally defined as those that are less than 5 millimetres and might rotate into the ocean eternally, harming marine ecosystems.
The project is led by the German Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, but the Norwegian research institute SINTEF and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are involved in the hunt for jellyfish.
In GoJelly, researchers at NTNU and SINTEF will work together with researchers and fishermen from all over Europe to harvest jellyfish in different European marine areas. In Norway, the Periphylla periphylla (Crown Jellyfish), which lives in Trondheimsfjorden, targets the harvest.
The researchers will focus on identifying species that produces the most mucus, and to find effective methods for harvesting and storage of the jellyfish. The functionality and capacity of the filter will also be investigated.
In addition, the project will drive the cultivation of jellyfish to provide itself with both research material and enough jellyfish for biofilter and other manet products. Jellyfish can also be used for human food, feed, fertilizer and cosmetics.
Starting from Jan 2018, the project is expected to last 4 years. The total funding from the European Commission is in the range of 6M euros.