Designs for a £40 million ($52 million) new eco-yacht that will collect plastic from the ocean and recycle it as it sails have been unveiled in Southampton.
The ‘Ocean Saviour’ is designed to scoop up a staggering five tonnes of plastic pollution each day and will become the first vessel ever to power itself by recycling ocean waste into fuel.
Plastic will be chopped finely, milled and processed through onboard machinery which will destroy it completely with minimal atmospheric pollution.
The firm which designed the ship says it was inspired by the BBC‘s Blue Planet documentary, narrated by legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
Described as ‘the combine harvester of the seas’, it has been designed with two booms on either side of the 70 metre-long (230ft) vessel which will funnel floating pollution into a conveyor.
The pioneering plans, revealed today at Southampton Boat Show, lay out how this will then bring the ocean waste onboard the Ocean Saviour, where it will be recycled using a high tech process.
The finely-chopped product will then be used to fuel the vessel, meaning it can power itself for months on end.
Richard Roberts, of Southampton-based TheYachtMarket, is the project’s co-founder and said he was inspired to create the ship after watching Blue Planet.
He said the show’s shocking portrayal of waste in the oceans encouraged him ‘to do something practical’ about the problem.
The ‘Ocean Saviour’ is designed to scoop up a staggering five tonnes of plastic pollution each day and will become the first vessel ever to power itself by recycling ocean waste into fuel. Pictured is an artist’s impression of the conveyor belt through which the vessel picks up plastic pollution
Latest figures show eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year.
We now produce 335 million tonnes every year – five times the amount generated 50 years ago – and over five trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the ocean.
Mr Roberts said: ‘It’s staggering to think there is currently over five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean which is having a huge detrimental impact on our ecosystem and the ocean’s biodiversity.
‘It’s essential we remove plastic before it breaks down into micro plastics and, through Ocean Saviour, we aim to help eradicate the ocean of this problem.
‘They should be going up and down our coastlines all the time – they could be the combine harvesters of the seas.’
Mr Roberts co-founded the project with his colleague Simon White.
The catamaran was designed by naval architect Ricky Smith, who specialises in creating eco-friendly vessels, and will be deployed in the Pacific Ocean.
Mr Smith said: ‘Ocean Saviour proposes an environmental revolution whereby we, as a community, undertake the immense and urgent task of physically collecting the plastics from the oceans and waterways.
‘The Ocean Saviour project is vast and will require input on many levels.
‘This is a crusade for the liberation of our oceans from the waste created by both our brilliant technology and our disregard of the oceans.’
Also working on the project is design expert Dr Andrew Baglin.
Dr Baglin said: ‘There are several variables when calculating the amount of plastic that can be removed from the water per day.
‘These include distance to ports, the operating area of the vessel and the size of the collector array that is installed, all of which are under careful development.’
This week the world’s largest ocean cleanup got underway in the Pacific Ocean, aiming to tackle pollution in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where it’s estimated there is 1.8 trillion pieces of detritus and at least 87,000 of plastic.