A professional yacht racer, annoyed by the constant sightings of floating mats of plastic garbage in the seawater, has created an ocean cleaning sailboat that is powered by the waste it collects.
At the end of the film Back to the Future, Dr. Emmet Brown has famously managed to replace his plutonium-powered generator with one which uses ordinary garbage. Like the DeLorean in the movie, the Manta uses garbage to power an electric motor that works in conjunction with the sails to propel the large catamaran.
In between the three pontoons, conveyor belts scoop up trash as small as 10 millimeters, over which the Manta glides, while three trawl nets drifting behind (to a depth of 1 meter, thereby avoiding sea life) add to the onboard collection. This trash is then fed into a processing machine where crewmen sort it before moving it into an incinerator that melts the plastic and uses the gases in a turbine to power the electric motor.
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Paired with solar panels lining the decks and a wind turbine that harvests power from the wind coming off the sails, the Manta would be 70% self-sufficient in terms of energy, allowing it to sail around sucking up 3 tons of waste an hour, without almost ever needing to return to harbor and refuel or offload plastic.
There’s also room onboard for a scientific laboratory, allowing marine biologists and chemists to study the effects of plastic on the ecosystem.
Unveiled purely as a concept, the SeaCleaners want to put a working prototype on the waves by 2024. Bourgnon believes that if 400 of the vessels were made, they could eventually remove 33% of the ocean’s plastic pollution.
(SEE how the boat would work in the video below.)
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