Dutch scale-up RanMarine Technology says that debris intentionally or accidentally ends up in the world’s lakes, waterways, and other marine environments every day. There is no body of water that does not experience this problem, according to the company, with the unsightly debris being a threat to marine life, navigational safety, and human health. That’s why it developed products like the MegaShark, an electrically driven vessel shown at CES 2023 and designed to remove trash from waters and return it to shore before it can do damage.
Adding more detail to the growing problem, the company says that every year, 11 million metric tons of toxic plastic leak into oceans on top of the estimated 200 million metric tons that are already in the broader marine environments. The UN Environmental Program predicts that the former number will triple to about 35 million tons per year by 2040. With marine debris being one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world’s oceans and waterways, according to the Marine Debris Program, new solutions are being sought globally to radically reduce the harmful effects of waste.
In response, RanMarine Technology created WasteShark, the world’s first commercially available marine drone that collects both waste and data from the world’s waterways. The brainchild of RanMarine founder and CEO Richard Hardiman, the WasteShark USV (unmanned surface vessel) has been designed to scoop harmful plastic waste from waterways, canals, rivers, and ports and return it to shore before it can do damage.
The company’s line of industrial remote controlled and autonomous “sharks” help government bodies and companies concerned with the economic, regulatory, and aesthetic impact of polluted water efficiently removes surface trash and biomass while preventing imbalances in their marine environments. Its multipurpose drones incorporating advanced AI are inspired by nature and restore waterways back to their natural state with zero emissions, limited noise, and a fraction of the investment compared to other methods.
“We have an epic battle on our hands,” said Hardiman, “Current technologies are simply not working, we need a modern approach to a modern problem, and for me, robots and autonomous drones were an easy and simple answer. Of course, it’s critical to create policies and strategies to stop plastic waste from entering our waterways as a primary strategy. Our WasteShark offers a pragmatic solution for cleaning up the existing mess that is perpetuated on a daily basis and effectively preventing waste from reaching the open ocean.”
The new and larger MegaShark highlighted at CES harvests waste from waterways using powerful suction jets to increase waste capture in difficult-to-reach chokeholds. An onboard trash compaction system makes it possible to collect larger amounts of waste per day. A MegaShark operator can manage the drone by standing or sitting on the vessel or operating it remotely. In addition to waste harvesting, the drone collects critical water quality data that can be immediately transmitted to a portal and available for reporting and analysis.
The drone has 8 h of electric running time thanks to advanced battery technology. A shallow draft gives the vessel less drag to improve efficiency and battery life.
Plans call for MegaShark to be part of a bigger RanMarine vehicle ecosystem.
The company will introduce the TenderShark, a versatile “mini” tender designed to carry light cargo loads efficiently and effectively from ship to shore, and vice-versa. It is engineered to transport loads in an environmental manner with an option to simultaneously collect floating waste, allowing all marine vessel operators to assist in cleanup.
Another “world first” from RanMarine is an autonomous floating docking station for waste-clearing drones. The SharkPod mothership can deploy, dock, and charge up to 5 WasteShark drones at any time. This latest tool in pollution-fighting technology can enable ports, harbors, and cities to operate a 24-h autonomous solution to remove floating water waste. It will be available for purchase in early 2023.
RanMarine’s customers are worldwide and made up of civic and commercial entities including the Port of Houston, Disney theme parks, Universal, and the United Nations.
The company is exhibiting at CES 2023 in Booth 55332.