Smart Ship Manta Collects Ocean Waste to Turn it into Electricity

Innovative ship Manta goes beyond the green ships of today. Manta is a giant, plastic-eating, sea-cleaning catamaran that collects trash on an industrial scale and powered by renewable energy.

French-Swiss sailor Yvan Bourgnon is the inspiration behind the venture. Over the years, Bourgnon noticed that plastic garbage waste in coastal waters had increased. He got tired of hitting these floating plastic objects during his races and seeing unique places turn into landfills. Bourgnon highlighted how he missed out on records during his racing career and broke his boat many times from hitting ocean debris. Annoyed by these encounters, the French ocean adventurer decided to fight against this global scourge.

Bourgnon set up The SeaCleaners NGO in 2016, a consortium of engineers, researchers, and technicians. Plus, it comprises several research laboratories and partners to build robust solutions. He and his team designed an ocean-cleaning sailboat that collects the waste and converts it into fuel to power the boat. The 184 ft (56-meter) catamaran powered by a combination of electric motors and advanced sail technology.

The giant sailing boat uses the collected ocean plastic waste to power an electric motor that works in conjunction with high-tech sails to propel. It can collect, process, and recover large quantities of marine plastic debris on an industrial scale. Operating autonomously 75 % of the time, the giant boat is a world-class scientific laboratory. Manta is developed from low-carbon steel and features a custom electric hybrid propulsion system, making manoeuvring at low speed for sensitive operations seamless.

The Manta is the first sailboat featuring self-sufficiency and can process 90 to 95% of the collected plastic waste while at sea. It has three floatable collection systems that extend a plastic-eating span of 151 feet and a collection depth of three feet. Plus, two cranes are used to extract large debris. The debris is classified, and metal and glass are sent for processing at shoreside recycling units, whereas the organic matter returned to the sea. However, the plastic waste is fed into the WECU; the unit can vaporize the plastic and turn syngas into Electricity.

The Manta will mediate mainly in Africa, Asia, and South America in strategic areas where marine plastic pollution is dense. The vessel will also intervene swiftly in polluted areas following a natural or climatic disaster (cyclones, tsunamis, etc.).

Bourgnon estimated a two year-window for the build for the first model and delivery scheduled for the end of 2024. The Sea Cleaners project will join a surge of new initiatives aimed at clearing the oceans of plastic in recent years, such as the Ocean Cleanup project.

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