Solar-powered vessel scoops plastics out of rivers


Plastics have long been a problem in the world’s oceans. A Dutch foundation now claims to have a solution. It tackles the menace at one of the major sources of plastic pollution – rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup, an NGO that focused its efforts in clearing the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, has unveiled a solar-powered barge that stops plastics floating in rivers from reaching open water.

“The Interceptor” is an autonomous system capable of extracting 50,000 kg of trash every day, and 100,000 kg under optimized conditions.

Anchored to the riverbed, the vessel uses floating barriers to channel plastic to itself. A conveyor belt then separates the garbage from the water which is then dumped into containers on a separate barge.

“The Interceptor” can operate 24/7 and is powered by lithium-ion batteries. An onboard computer monitors performance, energy usage and the health of components.

Boyan Slat, an aerospace engineering student drop-out and Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup said: “To truly rid the oceans of plastic, we need to both clean up the legacy and close the tap, preventing more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place.”

“Combining our ocean cleanup technology with the Interceptor, the solutions now exist to address both sides of the equation.”

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