Fregata Space to Apply Satellite Technology to Prevent 8 Million Tons of Plastics from Ending up in the Oceans Each Year

The company has developed a solution to save the more than 33,000 dollars per ton that cleaning our seas represents today. Using satellite images and Machine Learning technologies, it detects the volume of waste, manages its removal and subsequent auction.

It sounds like something out of a spy movie, but it is a perfectly operational technology that is being used to locate and eliminate marine debris that floats in the seas and oceans of our planet.

Thus, the company Fregata Space, in which Sateliot participates, and specialized in transforming satellite images into high-resolution information with high predictive value, has put its technology at the service of the fight against marine debris. In this way, Fregata Space uses the  New Space ecosystem  together with its own Big Data and Machine Learning technologies, to prevent more than 8 million tons of plastic from ending up in the oceans each year.

NewSpace technology

Precisely the application of New Space technology in the field of marine biodiversity was the focus of the III New Space Atlantic Summit last Friday. In this way, the aim is to involve the space industry in the preservation and management of marine resources. Especially considering that, if nothing is done about it, in 2050 there will be more garbage than fish in the seas.

It is estimated that between 60 and 80% of marine litter is made up of plastics, both macro and micro. Similarly, it has been shown that most of the plastics that end up in the seas and oceans do so through lakes, rivers and coastal areas. For this reason, Fregata Space has designed a solution that, based on satellite images, monitors the coasts and the mouths of rivers to capture this waste before it reaches the open sea.

From there, a system of IoT sensors detects the volume of waste and the different cleaning points and, through a mobile application, automatically organizes the collection and recycling of plastics, which are auctioned in real time among local companies. waste management to give them a second life.

Advantages and other details

In this way, Fregata contributes to saving the more than 33,000 dollars per ton (more than 28,000 euros approximately) that its cleaning currently represents. In addition, the company generates a circular economy -and local microeconomies in the areas where it operates; combating the pollution of the oceans from its own origin: the coastal areas.

The satellite remote sensing used by Fregata is based on images collected by the European satellites Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, among others. It also uses information from the databases of the Earth observation programmes, Copernicus and Galileo, as the main monitoring technique. This data is later analyzed, processed and converted into practical and useful information through advanced and patented Machine Learning techniques.

Testing the technology in the Dominican Republic

To test the effectiveness of this technology, Fregata Space already has several pilot projects underway. One of them is the one that takes place in La Romana, in the Dominican Republic.

Here, the company, in collaboration with Fundación Proactiva, is implementing this technology to limit the problem of waste management in the area. In this sense, the volume of plastics is monitored from space, its removal is managed and, in this way, a second useful life is offered to said waste. And all, using local labor.

As María Fernanda González, founder and CEO of Fregata Space explains, space is no longer a place reserved only for a few; hence the need to take advantage of the assets it offers -such as terrestrial observation- to solve problems on the planet; such as the one raised by the excessive amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans.


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