Blue Nodules

Key Info

Basic Information

Prof. Dr. Hermann Wotruba
Prof. Dr. Karl Nienhaus
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Clausen
Faculty / Institution:
Georesources and Materials Engineering
Societal Challenges
Project duration:
01.01.2016 to 31.07.2020
EU contribution:
7.991.137,50 euros
  EU flag This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688975.  


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