Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Green City Organisation wants to free the Mediterranean of its waste

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, February 15th 2022 à 10:30 | Read 423 times

Isabelle Gérente and Jean-Patrick Barbera were present at the Forum des mondes méditerranéens to present their project (photo: F.Dubessy)
Isabelle Gérente and Jean-Patrick Barbera were present at the Forum des mondes méditerranéens to present their project (photo: F.Dubessy)
FRANCE. "80% of the waste found at sea comes from the land," explains Isabelle Gérente, president and founder of Green City Organisation. In short, it's the principle of the flush. Each time there is a major rainstorm in the coastal towns, all the paper, plastic, bottles, cigarette butts, etc. littering the pavements or in the gutters are washed away into the Mediterranean.
Created in Marseille two years ago, Green City Organisation proposes to act at the source of the problem with its system for capturing waste from rainwater networks. This system, called D-Rain, patented in France and protected internationally, is based on a giant double-meshed net, like a fishing net, attached to an outlet by an intelligent collar. Monitored in real time and adapting to both land and underwater pipes, it alerts operators when it is full and needs to be emptied. The device can also be used to collect data on the physical and chemical state of the water using additional sensors, thus transforming a simple outfall into a real water quality measuring station.
The management team consists of three partners, all professional divers. Isabelle Gérente is in charge of strategic management, Jean-Patrick Barbera is in charge of sales and international operations, while Thierry Dubourdieu-Rayrot manages R&D and the design office.

A simple operation that can be duplicated everywhere (drawing: Green City Organisation)
A simple operation that can be duplicated everywhere (drawing: Green City Organisation)

A demonstrator in Marseille

Present at the Mediterranean Worlds Forum (7 and 8 February 2022 in Marseille), Green City Organisation has been forging close links with environmental NGOs since the beginning. "They are our natural allies and raise awareness among institutions, economic players and civil society of the challenges of protecting the sea. They facilitate the presentation of the solution to local decision-makers," emphasises the company director.
Since 14 December 2021, in partnership with the Société Nautique de Marseille (SNM), Seramm (Marseille Métropole sanitation service), Ecotank and 7Seas, a D-Rain demonstrator has been installed in the Vieux-Port of Marseille, on France's largest sewage outlet (4 metres by 3). This initiative, co-financed by the Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency and Total Energies Regional Development, is now a technological showcase. "We have launched the marketing and are in contact with several municipalities in France, notably Cassis and towns in Corsica," says Isabelle Gérente.
"The Mediterranean Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, so we can't just treat the river water in France. We have to act in the twenty-one countries around the Mediterranean. We therefore wanted this technology to be easily deployed everywhere," explains the president of the impact start-up. Hence a solution described as "low tech".
Green City Organisation's ambition is to capture, on the scale of the Mediterranean basin, the equivalent volume of plastic discarded by France in the Mediterranean over the next five years. That is 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.
"We will go through a technology transfer. We will find local industrial partners who will become our licensees. They will be able to produce, market and install D-Rain and thus create value and jobs in their territories," says Isabelle Gérente.

Advanced discussions with Morocco

The D-Rain system wants to be deployed in all Mediterranean countries (photo: F.Dubessy)
The D-Rain system wants to be deployed in all Mediterranean countries (photo: F.Dubessy)
The Marseille-based company will officially launch its Mediterranean development strategy in May 2022, at the "Protect the Sea" event organised in Agadir by Surfrider Foundation Morocco. The cleantech is also already in discussions with two industrialists in the Cherifian Kingdom and hopes to finalise the purchase of a licence by the end of 2022.
"We also signed an agreement with the Probiom Foundation in Algeria in January 2021 and presented our know-how to the Tunisian authorities in September 2021," says Isabelle Gérente. "With Tunisia, we were able to meet the mayor of Tunis, members of ONAS (Editor's note: National Sanitation Office) and the Ministry of the Environment. We are currently preparing an event with these actors and are looking for a Tunisian association to support us," she continues. "In the long term, once we have deployed our solution on a larger scale in a Maghreb country, the partner NGOs will also be able to work on the upgrading of certain trades, such as that of ragpicker, and thus recreate a recycling sector," comments the president of Green City Organisation.
The north shore has not been forgotten. With the Marseille Institute of Ocean Sciences (CNRS and Aix-Marseille University), the company will join a consortium currently being set up under the European CleanMed programme, which includes France, Spain, Italy and Greece. The aim is to set up a European demonstrator. Green City Organisation is preparing partnerships with Spain, Italy and Greece for 2022.


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