The facebook post of Azura Marine Earth probably says it best:
“WE MADE IT!
After nearly one year of application process, our PlakMan, a solar-powered, emission-free sea plastic skimmer has received the label of “Efficient Solution” from the Solar Impulse Foundation and World Alliance for Efficient Solutions of Bertrand Piccard.”
The PlakMan removes floating plastic debris from the seas and oceans and processes them onboard to reduce their volume for further recycling. It joins 3 marine projects we wrote about a few weeks ago that have also earned the Efficient Solution Label.
Bertrand Piccard is perhaps best known for co-piloting the Solar Impulse 2 airplane that flew around the world on solar power in 2016. In 2018 he started the SI Foundation to give consumers wanting to implement clean solutions a label that identifies “products, processes and services (that) serves as a guarantee of quality” while “affording a competitive edge to the innovators behind them“.
Solar Impulse Foundation solutions in 12 categories
The solutions that apply for the label undergo rigorous scrutiny from worldwide experts in whatever field is relevant – in this case Plastic Pollution – before being allowed to use it. Other topics in which solutions are designated (there are 11 topics in all) include Water, Land and Air Pollution, Hydrogen Mobility, Sustainable Shipping and Smart Cities.
Azura Marine is a Singapore-based team of Engineers, University Professors, Naval Architects and general nature enthusiasts who launched their first project – “Surya Namaskar” – in Indonesia in 2017.
The Surya Namaskar is a classical Indonesian fishing boat known as a jukung that the team converted into a solar electric boat. Azura Founder and CEO Julien Mélot placed solar panels as a roof over the outrigger and the crew of 6 took it on a 2,000km voyage across the Indonesian archipelago, to Bali and back, without any technical issue and without burning a single drop of fuel.
Azura also builds the Aquanima line of modern solar powered catamarans, ranging from a 28 foot water taxi to the 45 foot flagship, with a deck of 100 m2, a speed of up to 12 knots and a range of 120 nautical miles over 24 hours.
PlakMan can gobble up 1-2 tonnes of plastic/day
The PlakMan plastic skimmer and pre-processor is built on the water taxi platform and is designed to operate 24 hours a day on solar power and battery storage with the capability to remove 1-2 tonnes of floating debris during that time. The boat necessarily has to go at a slow speed to gather the waste on the water surface, so the power also runs a plastic shredder and a compactor installed onboard.
As is noted on the Solar Impulse Foundation outline of the project, sorting at the source and pre-processing the plastic debris onboard the PlakMan gives the waste additional value which can pay for the crew operating the boat and handling the waste. Additionally, the PlakMan can be used as a mini off-grid power station of 5+ kW in remote areas, enough to supply power for a small village.
If the PlakMan and its crew work 300 days/year, 25 miles sailed per day with the waste processing machines running, it will save 8,000 tons of CO2 per year over a similar fossil-fuelled skimmer.
Congratulations to Azura Marine and the PlakMan, and we’ll let the conclusion of their facebook post wrap up this article also: Let the PlakMan munch on plastics in the 7 Seas!