The Manta: An Ocean-Cleaning Yacht That Feeds On Plastic Waste For Fuel
Manta rendering. (Credit: The SeaCleaners)
Environment Transport

The Manta: Ocean-Cleaning Yacht That Feeds On Plastic Waste For Fuel

French ocean traveler Yvan Bourgnon has spent his career racing sailing boats worldwide as a competitive yachtsman. Over the years, Bourgnon noticed that plastic garbage sightings in coastal waters were becoming more frequent. Annoyed by the constant encounters with floating mats of trash, he and his team designed an ocean-cleaning sailboat that converts the waste it collects into fuel to power the boat.

The 56-meter (184 ft) Manta is the first catamaran offering from Bourgnon’s SeaCleaners Project. The large vessel uses the scooped-up plastic waste to power an electric motor that works in conjunction with high-tech sails to propel.

The Manta: An Ocean-Cleaning Yacht That Feeds On Plastic Waste For Fuel
(Credit: The SeaCleaners)

In between the ships’ hulls, conveyor belts scoop up garbage as tiny as 10 millimeters, while three trawl nets drift behind, trapping plastics to a depth of 1 meter.

This trash is subsequently fed into a processing machine where crew members sort it manually according to its type; glass, metal, aluminum waste are stored to be sent to the mainland to be recycled via local waste management streams. Organic materials are thrown back to the sea. The plastic waste is shredded and transformed into pellets before feeding it into an incinerator that melts the plastic, producing gas that drives a turbine. In turn, it generates power for the boat’s systems to use.

That generated electricity paired with solar cells and wind turbines on the boat’s deck will make the boat 70% self-sufficient in energy, allowing it to collect 3 tons of waste per hour without barely ever needing to return to harbor and refuel.

The Manta: An Ocean-Cleaning Yacht That Feeds On Plastic Waste For Fuel
(Credit: The SeaCleaners)
The Manta: An Ocean-Cleaning Yacht That Feeds On Plastic Waste For Fuel
(Credit: The SeaCleaners)

As a bonus, there’s plenty of room onboard for a scientific lab, where marine biologists and chemists could study various matters, including the effects of plastic on the ecosystem.

Bourgnon said:

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.

Bourgnon is confident that 400 vessels could eventually remove 33% of the world’s ocean plastic pollution. For now, the Manta exists only as a concept, but Bourgnon and his team plan to turn it into a functioning prototype that can be launched on the waves in 2024. The video below shows how the Manta will work.

In 2019, we saw some ocean cleaning projects remove millions of pounds of trash from rivers and harbors, including the Interceptor and Mr. Trash Wheel.

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