After three years of dedicated research and development, the world witnessed the creation of Manta, a giant catamaran, the first factory boat designed to collect and process large quantities of floating plastic macro-waste at sea.
It is the first concentrated ecology and technology factory ship that can collect, process, and recover large quantities of marine plastic waste —and it’s powered by renewable energy.
The SeaCleaners presents the Manta, its pioneering and eco-friendly sailboat capable of collecting and processing large quantities of marine plastic waste.
This eco-friendly sailboat operates autonomously at 75% without fossil fuels.
This multi-purpose factory boat, propelled by renewable energies, is the newest approach towards the protection of the oceans.
The Manta will be launched in 2024.
The giant catamaran resulted from three-year-old research and development, and due to its biomimetic design, innovative hybrid propulsion system, and power supply from renewable energy sources, it will be able to operate 75% of the time autonomously, without using fossil fuels, with a minimal environmental footprint.
Moreover, the extraordinary vessel will also serve as a cutting-edge scientific laboratory for the observation, analysis, and understanding of ocean plastic pollution and as an educational platform open to the public.
It will be the only vessel of the kind able to manage 100% of the plastic waste collected at sea.
Every minute, 17 tons of plastic end up in the oceans, which is between 9 to 12 million tons annually. The United Nations (UN) reported that in case ambitious actions are not taken, then oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
Therefore, one man, a champion, adventurer, and record-holding navigator, Yvan Bourgnon, decided to take action, and stop seeing paradise turned into a dump.
Therefore, he created the association The SeaCleaners and set up a center of expertise dedicated to the construction of a pioneering ship: the Manta, the first sea-cleaning boat capable of collecting floating plastic waste on an industrial scale.
Due to its unique combination of collection means, the Manta will collect both floating macro-waste and smaller debris from 10 millimeters upwards and up to one meter deep.
It will be the first in the world to manage 100% of the plastic waste collected at sea thanks to its onboard factory.
The plastic waste will be sorted manually, treated, and recovered using a pyrolysis energy conversion unit capable of converting all the plastic collected into energy with a minimal environmental footprint.
Thanks to its waste collection and processing capacity of 1 to 3 tons per hour, the Manta will cleanse the oceans of 5,000 to 10,000 tons of plastic waste per year.
The propulsion of the Manta will have a customized hybrid system combining 1,500 m2 of sails installed on automated rigging and electric motors.
A series of on-board renewable energy production equipment (two wind turbines, hydro-generators, almost 500 m2 of photovoltaic solar panels) will produce the needed electricity, as well as an on-board waste to energy unit.
Due to the unique and innovative system, this unique multi-purpose vessel will be able to operate autonomously on average 75% of the time, without using fossil fuels, with an environmental footprint reduced to the strict minimum.
Additionally, apart from cleaning the seas, the Manta will have three other missions, making it a complete solution for combating plastic pollution, both corrective and preventive:
- In co-development with local decision-makers, to contribute to the transition towards a circular economy in countries affected by plastic pollution, by demonstrating and disseminating innovative solutions for the management and treatment of plastic waste and clean shipping solutions for “green ships” and “smart ships”;
- Receiving the public aboard for awareness and education actions on plastic pollution ;
- To host international scientific missions, thanks to its onboard research facilities, on the quantification, characterization, and localization of plastic waste slicks. The data collected will be shared in open Data.
The Manta will intervene mainly in Asia, Africa, and South America, in areas where marine plastic pollution is particularly dense: coastal areas, rivers, large rivers mouths, and estuaries.
Being a deep-sea vessel, it will intervene rapidly in polluted areas following a natural or climatic disaster (typhoons, tsunamis…).
Currently, a technical consortium of some twenty companies and five research laboratories work on the design and development of the Manta, with the launch and the first collection campaigns scheduled for 2024.
An educational platform
When it comes to its role as an educational platform, after 3 weeks at sea collecting plastic waste, the Manta will visit coastal ports in the area to raise awareness, educate and present the SeaCleaners missions.
Each day in port, the vessel will welcome the public aboard for conferences and activities regarding plastic pollution. A dedicated area of 200 m2 and a conference room for 80 people are on board the Manta to accommodate these events.
A tool to promote the circular economy
The Manta will also serve as a technological demonstration vessel of technological possibilities to encourage and support local actions towards improvements of their waste and recycle management. Its vocation is to support local stakeholders in the development and structuring of local waste management and recovery sectors. Visits will be hosted aboard the Manta with local political, industrial, and economic decision-makers, to adapt to local contexts the solutions presented, in particular the Mobula (small collection boats), the waste-to-energy conversion unit, and the clean navigation technologies, which can be used for the development of “green ships” and “smart ships”.
A scientific laboratory to study plastic pollution
Moreover, the boat will welcome international researchers aboard for long-distant missions at sea, to advance the fight against plastic pollution backed by scientific results. It can accommodate a group of 6-10 researchers, who would be able to make use of workrooms, a dry lab, a wet lab, and the oceanographic equipment necessary to geolocate, quantify and characterize plastic pollution. Research results will be published and data collected will be available in an “open data” platform.
An ambassador boat for the fight against marine plastic pollution
What’s more, The Manta will act as an ambassador to display the affordability and efficiencies of technologies to collect and process plastic pollution. Being a pioneer, it will use the opportunity to encourage other players, show them the ease of use in the technologies, open dialogues with communities, companies, and even countries to mobilize and to take actions to protect the oceans. Its results at sea will help to raise awareness at all levels of society.
In its latest resolutions on marine plastic pollution, the United Nations recommends cleaning up ecosystems in parallel with upstream prevention and awareness-raising work.
Namely, plastic pollution continues to break down into microplastics that are absorbed by marine life, and in turn, end up in our food.
For the first time, recent research at the University of Arizona (USA) detected microplastics in human organs.
Plus, plastic pollution is the main cause of death for marine wildlife: 1 million marine birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals die each year from ingestion or suffocation by plastic pollution.
Therefore, it is high time we sought solutions and took action to clean the oceans.
The design of the Manta consolidates performance and simplicity, and it emulates the manta ray. The Manta ray eats as she swims with her mouth wide open, passing water through her gill arches filtering for zooplankton, jellyfish, and crustaceans. The sailboat passes water between its hulls to filter for plastic pollution feeding its waste-to-energy conversion unit to create energy for its propulsion system, and in turn, cleanses the sea.
The Manta has a three floatables collection system, one central and two lateral towed by two outriggers on each side of the Manta. Therefore, it has a collection span of 46 meters and a collection depth of one meter, for maximum efficiency in the collection of floating waste, without harming marine fauna and flora. Two cranes attached on the main working deck on either side of the ship extract large debris.
Then, the waste is taken to the sorting unit where operators separate it manually according to its nature. Organic matter, like wood and algae, is returned to the water, respecting the marine fauna and flora. Metal, glass, or aluminum waste is stored for return to shore and recycling in local waste management channels. Plastic waste is shredded and compacted to increase its energy efficiency, before feeding the Waste-to- Electricity Conversion Unit.
The Waste-to-Electricity Conversion Unit, named WECU, will convert plastic into electricity, and thus power all the electrical equipment onboard the Manta.
Pyrolysis is used to vaporize the plastic. Since oxygen is not present the materials do not combust thereby producing a synthetic gas « syngas ».The syngas engages the turbine and produces electricity.
The heat and toxic emissions released are recovered to meet thermal requirements and maintain a minimum environmental footprint.
The solid carbon residues which represent 5 to 10 % of the treated plastic, will be stored and distributed to recycling management services on land to produce products, like bitumen, cement, and fuel.
Nothing will be wasted. Plastic will be turned into usable energy rather than storage, which increases the weight of the sailboat and therefore its energy consumption.
Factory boat, ambassadorship, all-in-one plastic decontamination, extraordinary catamaran… the Manta is the epitome of an eco-friendly sailboat.
The preferred propulsion mode will be its sails and rigs, minimizing its energy consumption, its carbon footprint, and its operating costs. It will maintain a high level of energy autonomy and will function 75% of the time without fossil fuels.
As its missions require low speeds, the hybrid propulsion system allows movement at low speeds (between 2 and 3 knots) while maintaining maneuverability. An optimal way to combine propeller propulsion units driven by electric motors and automated rigs, equipped with a very large sail area (over 1,500 m2).
The latter are improved Dynarig rigs, specially designed to lower the energy bill and the ecological footprint of sailing yachts.
Plus, the Manta will have on-board renewable resources that will supply electricity, with the aim to increase self-sufficiency with minimal environmental impact and reduce consumption of fossil fuels:
- Two wind turbines, located at the stern, will generate up to 100 kW of electricity;
- Nearly 500 m2 of photovoltaic solar panels, installed at the bow, will generate approximately 100 kWp (kilowatt-peak) of electricity.
Two-thirds of the panels will be located on a fixed surface, one-third of the panels will be attached on retractable wings, which render the appearance of the ray, hence the name the Manta.
- Two hydro-generator, located under the vessel, will generate up to 100 kW utilizing their rotors when the boat is under sail propulsion.
- The Waste-to-Electricity Conversion Unit will generate up to 100 kW
To ensure low-speed maneuvering and ensure the safety of the crew, the Manta is also fitted with two diesel engines
The principles of energy management of this extraordinary machine are efficiency and simplicity. Pyrolysis consolidates these principles and is the cleanest and most eco-friendly technology available for processing and recovering plastic waste.
The toxic emissions released by this process are treated by an innovative filtration system, thereby, reducing CO2 and other pollutants into the air.
This filtration system conforms to the strictest standards of the European regulatory requirements, being the cleanest and most environmentally friendly technology for processing and recovering collected plastic waste, with very low external emissions.
Pyrolysis satisfies all criteria for sobriety and efficiency in energy management onboard the Manta.
Being the only deep-sea vessel capable of traversing the oceans nonstop, The Manta will intervene rapidly anywhere in the world and address areas polluted following natural or climate disasters.
It will intervene in endemic-polluted areas, and in coastal areas where the concentration of waste is the densest, i.e. in the estuaries or mouths of the most polluted and polluting rivers.
Numerous studies suggest that 80% of marine pollution begins on land and enters the waterways that lead to the oceans.
Between 0,41 and 4 million tons of pollution present in the oceans come from rivers.
Researchers claim that 88% to 95% of the pollution originates from 10 of the most polluted rivers in the world, mainly in Asia and Africa:
- THE YANGTZE
- THE YELLOW RIVER
- THE HAI RIVER
- THE ZHUJIANG
- THE INDUS
- THE AMURP
- THE MEKONG
- THE GANGES
- THE NILE
- THE NIGER
Moreover, areas ravaged by natural disasters lead to massive inflows of pollution into the ocean.
Therefore, the Manta will prove beneficial to respond rapidly in response to natural or climatic disasters.
Satellite images obtained by collaborative partners and exploratory missions carried out by the association will target the areas of intervention.
Moreover, the SeaCleaners will also rely on data provided by the goodwill of other specialized associations and organizations supporting clean-up efforts.