Written by: S Schedlin
RanMarine is profiled in Swedish business daily Dagens Industri. We're at Almedalsveckan 2017 in the beautiful Viking town of Visby, Gotland. This is a fertile gathering of political leadership, new tech and environmentalism!
Schedlin, S. (2017.) The cost-effective way to save the sea. Dagens Industri. July 5, 2017.
The cost-effective way to save the sea
Plastic and garbage in the sea is one of the biggest environmental problems facing the world today. There are several methods of picking up the trash, but unfortunately they are inefficient enough and too expensive, says Oliver Cunningham, Chief Commercial Officer at the Dutch environmental technology company RanMarine. He tells us that the cheapest but also the most ineffective way to remove garbage from the sea is by hand - for example, go round in a boat and pick it up with a net. Then there are also so-called skimmers, which are a type of ship that compresses and stores the trash.
“Skimmers are effective but also extremely expensive. They cost between five and eight million kronor while they are expensive to operate. They are also heavy and immobile, not able to navigate easily at tight angles.”
According to Oliver Cunningham, RanMarine's WasteShark drone is the solution to the problem. It can work 24/7, navigate between boats and is not harmful to the environment, people or animals. For 180,000 kronor it also costs the fraction of a skimmer and can be used everywhere from large ports to small marinas.
“WasteShark is agile and can clear up all your garbage. It is a learning machine and equipped with environmental sensors, which means that it continuously scans its environment and shares the information it collects with other drones. In this way, a group of drones works as a self-organizing network that can shape itself so that it takes care of the rubbish before it drifts out into the open ocean.”
A WasteShark and its replaceable battery will last for at least two years. The only operating cost is the power used when charging the battery once a day. Charging takes two hours and then the drone can run for eight hours.
“If you want some fun with WasteShark, you can run it with the Xbox controller, but you can also program the desired route as you want it to do and then let it do the job while you're doing something else. It means, therefore, that there is a minimum labor force and therefore the wage costs are low.”
Oliver Cunningham emphasizes the importance of collecting the garbage near land. Once trash is in the open ocean, individual pieces are very difficult to find until they have gathered together into a massive gyre – a floating garbage island. “That garbage island may seem easy to pick up because it's in one place, but it's a very complicated job. One could use a huge skimmer to suck up all the trash, but the problem is that it would also suck up billions of plankton and krill. Which, in turn, would destabilize the oceanic ecosystem,” he says.
Continuing: “While we already have these floating waste mountains, we continue to pollute the sea at a furious pace. The UN estimates that 20 million tonnes of plastic reaches the ocean every year. We can prevent that with our drones, which will catch garbage before it breaks down, sinks to the bottom, or drfits out into the open sea.
RanMarine will be at Almedalen and will happily answer any questions.
About RanMarine: RanMarine is a Dutch environmental technology company that builds drones specializing in removing waste from the ocean. For a free demonstration of the WasteShark, contact Jonathan Bengtsson at +46 (0)708782648 or firstname.lastname@example.org