This year, too, is likely to be dominated by climate change and pollution of our environment. The goals of the Paris Climate Agreement seem to be moving further and further away, at the same time the pollution from substances such as plastic is continuously increasing. Nevertheless, we must not give up hope, a new sailing ship now gives some hope for the last-mentioned problem.
The sailing ship is called Manta and has a special feature. It wants to remove up to three tons of plastic from the ocean per hour. So far, the boat is still in the concept phase, the model was inspired by the manta ray, which is also namesake. The sea creature also eats while it is moving. The ship also wants to use some of the plastic it has collected to generate energy.
The process works as follows: There is a conveyor belt between the two hulls, onto which the plastic is transported while the vehicle is moving. At the end of the bot there are additional nets that can collect larger plastic parts below the surface. Once collected, the waste is transported to the ship and manually separated by workers, for example aluminum is separated from the actual plastic.
The plastic is then crushed, converted into granules and then evaporated in a pyrolysis system. This creates synthetic gas, which in turn is used to generate electricity. The batteries of the Manta are recharged again and again in this way. Any carbon that arises is captured and recycled on land.
In addition to the ship’s engine, which is partly powered by the plastic waste, the boat also has large sails, two wind turbines and solar panels so that fossil fuel only has to be burned in exceptional cases. The ship is scheduled to be built at the end of 2022 and sent out to sea in 2024. Then it can remain in operation for 300 days a year, in addition to 22 crew members, there is space for 3 garbage sorters, two operators of the system and up to 10 scientists in the cabins.
Sail across the ocean and collect plastic on a large scale. Sounds like a great idea! However, it remains to be seen whether such a system can act economically. At the same time, teething troubles have to be ironed out and the procedure continuously optimized. But if this path is worth it, then we have taken another big step in the fight against plastic pollution.
Via Fast Company