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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

This ocean cleanup yacht can feed on plastic trash and convert it into fuel

French ocean adventurer Yvan Bourgnon and his team of designers hope to have a working prototype ready by 2024.

A French ocean adventurer and his team have designed a yacht that he says can scoop up plastic garbage to stop it blighting the world’s oceans, and converts the same waste into fuel to help power the boat.

Yvan Bourgnon has spent his career racing sailing vessels around the globe as a competitive yachtsman. Over the years, he said, his encounters with floating carpets of trash became more and more frequent.

That inspired his new venture: the Manta, a 56-meter (183 foot) long catamaran propelled by a combination of high-tech sails and electric motors.

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

As the boat moves through the water, conveyor belts will scoop up waste, sort it, then feed it into a burner. That will melt the plastic, producing gas which drives 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 said that if 400 of the boats were to be made, they could clean up one-third of the plastic debris in the oceans. He said even conservative estimates project that, by 2060, there will be three times more waste in the sea than now.

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