Device could remove 20 billion tonnes of plastic from the world's oceans. Boyan Slat came up with the idea of a series of floating booms and processing platforms designed to 'suck' in floating plastic rubbish. The young engineering student's 'ocean cleanup' concept is designed to be self sufficient and harness energy from the sun and waves. His invention could even make money by selling the plastic collected from the oceans, which kills millions of animals every year. Scroll down to view video.
A Dutch teenager has invented a device that he claims could clean up some 20 billion tonnes of plastic waste from the world's oceans.
Boyan Slat, 19, came up with the idea of a series of floating booms and processing platforms designed to collect floating plastic rubbish.
[Left] The design is self-sufficient and saves energy by being tethered to the sea bed (pictured)
The engineering student believes that once operational, his device could dramatically reduce the amount of rubbish in the oceans in just five years time.
Millions of tonnes of plastic debris are littering oceans and have accumulated in areas of high concentration called gyres - which are essentially floating rubbish tips.
This litter directly kills millions of aquatic animals annually but also spreads and introduces harmful algae and invasive species as well as man-made pollutants into the food chain, costing governments and organisations millions of dollars to clean up every year, according to Mr Slat.
[Left] Mr Slat believes his invention could make up to $500 million a year from recycling the waste collected (pictured) making it a potentially profitable clean-up solution.
He proposes fixing sea water processors to the sea bed, which are also attached to the floating platform so that the water can move through them and generate energy.
His concept also includes using floating booms instead of nets to cover vast areas of water effectively, while no mesh and a very low speed, means there will be 'virtually no by-catch' and unfortunate animals getting tangled in nets that are meant to help conserve their habitat.
[Left] The litter in the oceans directly kills millions of aquatic animals annually (like this bird with a stomach-full of plastic) but also spreads and introduces harmful algae and invasive species as well as man made pollutants into the food chain.
In a bid to solve problems of conventional clean-up measures, including rubbish escaping, emissions and high costs, he said his contraptions are 'completely self-supportive' and get their energy from the sun and waves.
'By letting the platforms' wings sway like an actual manta ray, we can ensure contacts of the inlets with the surface, even in the roughest weather,' he said.
As well as solving an environmental problem, Mr Slat also believes his invention could make up to $500 million a year from recycling the waste collected.
[Left] Millions of tonnes of plastic debris are littering oceans and have accumulated in areas of high concentration called gyres (pictured by the circles of arrows) which are essentially floating rubbish tips.
Mr Slat believes that many people need reminding about the environmental disaster affecting the Earth's oceans.
He said: 'One of the problems with preventive work is that there isn’t any imagery of these ‘garbage patches’ because the debris is dispersed over millions of square kilometres.'
'By placing our arrays however, it will accumulate along the booms, making it suddenly possible to actually visualise the oceanic garbage patches. We need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging,' VR-zone reported.
While Mr Slat is now a student at the Delft University of Technology, he came up with the idea while he as at school to win a number of prizes and the respect of more experiences marine experts.
He has now set up The Ocean Cleanup Foundation to raise funds to develop his innovation.
The Ocean Cleanup Array is an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms will span the radius of a gyre.The booms act as giant funnels where the angle of the booms effectively 'suck' rubbish in.The debris enters the platforms, where it will be filtered out of the water and eventually stored in containers until collected for recycling on land.One of the most significant advantages of using booms instead of nets is that marine life cannot be caught in them.Furthermore, because the transport of plastic along the booms is driven by the currents, it’s slow enough for organisms to escape.
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