Drone 'shark' that eats plastic goes live in UK waters

March 4, 2019

 

 

 

 

The aquadrone runs for up to eight hours on a rechargeable battery and "eats" plastics, microplastics, oil and pest plants.

 

 

 

 

The aquadrone’s design is inspired by the whale shark

 

 

A drone "shark" that "eats" plastics and other waste killing marine life is being trialled for the first time in the UK.

 

 

The WasteShark is an autonomous marine drone and is the first designed specifically to eat waste.

 

Its shape is inspired by the whale shark and it can remove 1kg (2.3lb) of waste per minute and last for eight hours at a time.

 

The device is making its UK debut in Ilfracombe harbour, in Devon, on Monday, after operating successfully in five countries, including South Africa and United Arab Emirates. 

 

It runs on a by a rechargeable battery and will capture up to 160 litres of waste at a time, including plastics and microplastics.

 

It can also extract oils and pest plants such as algae and duckweed.

 

The aquadrone’s design is inspired by the whale shark

 

 

The plastic waste will be turned into pellets that will be used to make products such as kayaks.

 

Created by RanMarine Technology, the WasteShark is designed to be harmonious with the environment and it causes no harm to wildlife. GPS points are programmed into the drone to ensure that it covers hot-spots where waste gathers. It can also collect important data about the marine environment.

 

WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue are launching the WasteShark as part of their work to improve Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). These areas include precious habitats and the species within them, and are under serious threat from issues including plastic and pollution.

 

Ilfracombe harbour lies within the Bideford to Foreland Point MPA, home to a number of important species and diverse habitats, including rocky reefs, honeycomb worms, pink sea fans and the charismatic spiny lobster. The area is also regularly visited by seabirds and cetaceans including the elusive harbour porpoise.

 

Lundy Island, home to some of the UK's most diverse and incredible wildlife, including species of conservation importance like grey seals, lies just 12 miles off the coast.

 

The device is being tested in the UK at Ilfracombe harbour

 

 

Jenny Oates, UK SEAS Programme Manager at WWF, said: "The WasteShark will help us fight the waste that enters the harbour, snapping it up before the tide takes it out to sea and it ends up threatening wildlife in other precious marine areas.

 

"There's no doubt we need to see major systemic change when it comes to single-use plastic. As we strive to get governments and businesses to commit to turning off the plastic tap, there is an important role for innovative technology to remove it from our seas."

 

Fiona Ball, Head of Responsible Business and Sky Ocean Rescue, Sky, said: "Raising awareness of the pollution being caused by plastic isn't enough. We need to take action."

 

 

:: Sky News will broadcast live from 300 metres down in the Indian Ocean on 18,19 and 20 March. The series - called Deep Ocean Live - will examine the impact of climate change and plastic pollution, and includes the deepest ever live news programme from submersibles.

 

:: Watch Deep Ocean Live: The Mission on 4 March at 9.30pm as Mark Austin explores how this feat was possible and what scientists expect to find.

 

:: Sky's Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

 

 

 

Full article link: 

https://news.sky.com/story/drone-shark-that-eats-plastic-goes-live-in-uk-waters-11654828

 

 

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