Marine plastic pollution is of increasing concern, and comprises an estimated 75% of ocean litter with over 5 million tonnes of plastic waste entering the seas annually . The condition is exacerbated when the plastic breaks down into smaller particles called microplastics (mostly due to weathering) that may be ingested by any species that encounters marine debris. At least 690 species have encountered marine debris, of which at least 10% have ingested microplastics . While the full impact of this situation remains to be quantified, marine debris is among the greatest perceived threats to biodiversity and it could have population-level impacts .
The W-grab main-frame, inspired by NAUTILUS semi-submersible wind turbine design and Statoil’s spar buoy design for Hywind project, will comprise of five pontoon semi-submersible columns with the wind turbine located centrally relative to the columns.
What it does
We want to remove plastic while most of it is still large, preventing it from breaking down into micro-plastics.
How I built it
Combination of several technologies ( wind energy, suction bins, geo-membranes)
The pentagon structure is expected to provide buoyancy and sufficient water plane inertia for stability. A static water ballast located at the bottom of the columns will help lower the W-grab to its intended operational draft. An active water ballast smart system located inside the columns will compensate for the wind loading by taking water into and off each column. Also known as secondary trim system, it is incorporated to adjust for change in wind velocity and direction. This system mitigates average wind induced thrust forces and thus maximize energy output. The floating turbine will have three suction anchors attached to the seabed.
Challenges I ran into
Depending on amount of waste, size of our design
Simple and stable no-nonsense structure that is storm and corrosion-resistant Material? Anchor: size, material, electronically controlled? Suction pumps: size, power, material Geo- textile membrane: size, thickness, solid Bins: mesh size Wind turbine: technology, power (GW) Pipe: HDPE, length, flexible/rigid enough to go with the waves, durable, recyclable Bin emptying frequency: weekly?
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
we came up with final design and selection of location we are proud of the fact that this inks with the Green Growth Project of Indonesia, and how this will help with sustainable development growth in the area.
What I learned
team bonding with members from different background, time management (almost)
What's next for Ocean Macro-Plastic Waste COllector: " W-Grab"
Hydrodynamic response of floating barrier system, financial feasibility (e.g. cost-benefit analysis, cost of material, production, maintenance), partner with local industries for re-usage of collected waste