New ocean clean up yacht that feeds on plastic waste

A French ocean adventurer, Yvan Bourgnon, and his team at The Sea Cleaners have designed a yacht which he says can scoop up plastic waste to stop it blighting the world’s oceans, and converts the same waste into fuel to help power the boat, according to Reuters.

Years spent racing around the globe as a competitive yachtsman, where he encountered floating carpets of rubbish, inspired Bourgnon’s new venture: the Manta, a 56-metre (183 foot) long catamaran propelled by a combination of high-tech sails and electric motors.

Currently, the yacht only exists on the drawing board, but Bourgnon and his team hope to turn it into a working prototype that can be launched in 2024.

When realised, the idea is that as the boat moves through the water, conveyor belts will scoop up waste, sort it, then feed it into a burner. This will melt the plastic, producing gas which will drive a turbine, and in turn generates electricity for the boat’s systems to use.

That electricity, along with solar cells and wind turbines on the boat’s deck, will make the boat 70% self-sufficient in energy, according to Bourgnon.

He says that if 400 of the boats were to be made, they could clean up one third of the plastic debris in the oceans, reports Reuters. Conservative estimates project that, by 2060, there will be three times more waste in the sea than now.

“To fold your arms and say ‘No, we’ll do nothing, we’ll leave it, we’ll focus on dry land, we’ll leave the waste in the ocean,’ is totally irresponsible,” says Bourgnon.

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