Blue Nodules

Key Info

Basic Information

Prof. Dr. Hermann Wotruba
Prof. Dr. Karl Nienhaus
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Clausen
Georesources and Materials Engineering
Societal Challenges
Project duration:
01.01.2016 to 31.07.2020
EU contribution:
7.991.137,50 euros


Breakthrough Solutions for the Sustainable Harvesting and Processing of Deep Sea Polymetallic Nodules


A key EU policy aims to reduce the Union dependency on raw materials imports, in particular (candidate) Critical Raw Materials that are vital for the EU innovative technologies. Topic SC5-11c-2015 scope focuses on “developing new highly-automated technological sustainable solutions for deep mining … in the sea bed combined with in-situ processing of minerals”. An existing but challenging raw material resource concerns polymetallic nodules. These round to elongated concretions of 1–15 cm diameter form on sediment-covered deep-sea plains in all oceans between 4-6000m water depth. The challenge to harvest and transport the nodules to the EU shore is taken on by Blue Nodules. The governing project principle is: industrial viability within the context of a realistic and technical, economic and environmentally balanced business case for the complete Polymetallic Nodules value chain of mining, processing and valorisation. Blue Nodules will develop and test to TRL6 maturity a new highly-automated and technologically sustainable deep sea mining system.


  • IHC Mining B.V., Netherlands (Coordinator)
  • Dredging International N.V., Belgium
  • ContiTech Rubber Industrial Kft., Hungary
  • IHC MIT B.V., Netherlands
  • DeRegt Marine Cables B.V., Netherlands
  • Uniresearch B.V., Netherlands
  • Seascape Consultants Ltd., United Kingdom
  • Global Sea Mineral Resources, Belgium
  • Bureau Veritas – Registre International de Classification de Navires et d’Aeronefs, France (Participation ended)
  • Stichting NIOZ, Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee, Netherlands (Participation ended)
  • Stichting Nederlandse Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Instituten, Netherlands
  • Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet NTNU, Norway
  • Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
  • Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain
  • Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore - Registre International de Classification de Navires et de Plateformes Offshore, France