Ocean program – Pollution remediation technology theme

Microplastics found in the ocean
Microplastics found in the ocean

The NRC Ocean program supports the development of technologies to remove ocean pollutants, while creating incentives for related organizations.

The pollution remediation technology theme will support the development of technologies to remove pollutants like microplastics, oil spills and underwater noise from the ocean and inland waterways.

Clean-up technologies developed under this technology theme could be made available for purchase by governments around the world, and in some cases, new markets may be explored that use these pollutants for value-added products.

Additional activities will focus on energy use, biofouling, effluents and debris. Learn more about pollutants.

Contact us

If you are interested in collaborating with us, making investments in this area, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Dr. Lars Schreiber
Research and technology lead
Email: Lars.Schreiber@cnrc-nrc.gc.ca

Related links

Areas of focus

Impact and detection of pollutants

A whale's tail and a boat, on the ocean

With our collaborators, we are focussed on developing technologies to better understand, detect and track pollutants. Researchers are looking into developing new tools and predictive models to guide mitigation and clean-up of pollution in Canadian waters. Areas of research include the detection of microplastics using AI and high-resolution vision systems in marine environments.

Transport and fate of pollutants

An oil spill

Understanding the dispersion of microplastics, oil and other pollutants in different water environments will be a key research area under the pollution remediation technology theme. Researchers are working on developing technologies to better understand the dispersion of pollutants and their impact on marine life.

Extraction of pollutants for use as feedstock

Algae samples

The NRC will explore ways to extract plastics and other pollutants for use in developing feedstocks. In some cases, new markets are being explored that use these pollutants as a feedstock in their industrial activities.

Research projects may create new revenue streams through the identification and development of novel marine-based products.


The pollution remediation technology theme leverages the NRC's expertise in numerical and predictive modelling, computation sciences including AI, micro-organisms and advanced genetic technologies, and advanced sensor development for harsh environments.

Through this technology theme, we expect to see research and development activities designed to:

  • develop bio-sensing technologies
  • develop new modelling tools that enable better prediction of marine pollutant transport and fate
  • develop reference materials for nanoplastics research
  • enhance technologies, guidance and expertise for the reduction of ship emissions like greenhouse gases and noise affecting marine life
  • find microbial solutions to pollutants
  • understand plastic toxicity in zebra fish

Pollution remediation projects

Projects listed under the pollution remediation technology theme are in various stages of development.