Interview by Up!Rotterdam / Rotterdam Innovation City

The mission of RanMarine is to develop advanced technology specifically designed for cleaning up pollution, organic waste, and debris in waterways. Additionally, water quality is monitored, allowing proactive measures to be taken to improve water quality.

Founder Richard Hardiman: “The idea for RanMarine arose in 2016 when I saw a few guys pulling plastic out of the water with a fishing net in a harbor in South Africa. I thought: this can surely be made easier. I literally sketched the idea for what is now the WasteShark on a napkin.”

By removing plastic from the water in time while it’s still floating, we try to reduce the risk of it breaking down into microplastics” Richard Hardiman, RanMarine

Since 2020, Richard and his family have moved to Rotterdam. “I tried to start my company in South Africa, but there are many more challenges there than in The Netherlands. I had done business in Rotterdam before, so I knew the city. When I read about a startup program I could participate in, I didn’t hesitate to sign up and travel to Rotterdam. The Netherlands has a very large volume of water, so I immediately thought: this is the place to bring my idea to life. Moreover, Rotterdam, with all its maritime expertise, is the ideal hotspot for my company.”

RanMarine has developed several autonomous surface vessels, commonly known as water drones. Operating on technology similar to that of robot vacuum cleaners, these aquatic drones come in various sizes and are tailored to different environments. Compact versions are suitable for rivers and canals, even between moored boats, while larger models are designed for ports and lakes. The flagship product is the WasteShark, a catamaran-style vessel that can operate both remotely or autonomously and is equipped with a waste collection bin between the floats.

Richard: “Actually, there should be a WasteShark everywhere because it’s often only purchased when waste is visible on the water. It’s better to anticipate, because if you remove waste and plastics in time, you do so before it breaks down into microplastics.”

Richard has big plans for the future. “I also see a collaboration with Hebo. Together, we are working on the development of an emission-free vessel for rapid response in removing small oil spills from waterways. Every day, I am feeling happy with my work. It’s a great feeling to be involved in something good. I see that reflected in my colleagues too. For example, Robotic Engineers can work anywhere, but they also choose to work for an organization like RanMarine that makes the world a better place.”

“Without Rotterdam, I would never have achieved what I have now. There is so much talent here. It’s truly a city of action! As a good Rotterdam saying goes: Actions speak louder than words. The TU Delft is nearby, while the port with all its knowledge is within easy reach. UpRotterdam has been immensely helpful in the process. With their network, they directed me to the right people and organizations. Sometimes I talk to friends in South Africa about my experiences starting my business, and they don’t believe me when I say that I received needed supported during the process. As a Dutch person, you might not fully realize how well things are organized here. 

To all new entrepreneurs, I would say: don’t be afraid to fail. There are plenty of opportunities in the Netherlands. Just take the risk, there is always a safety net here.”

Richard Hardiman is one of the Rotterdam Icons. Curious about the other Icons? Click here to meet them!
Original story here

5 uses for drones including Ocean clean-up efforts

When equipped with advanced sensors and imaging technologies, unmanned aerial systems – most commonly called drones – can provide crucial insights for waste and recycling facilities. While drones can aid in tasks such as site surveys and material volume estimation for recyclers, their role also extends beyond facility walls to help identify illegal dumpsites, map ocean waste, and more. This transformative technology not only streamlines processes within the recycling and waste management sectors, but also fosters cleaner environments and greener practices overall. 

Other benefits of drones also include improved worker safety and increased labour savings. By using drones in place of human workers, operating expenses can be significantly reduced, resulting in more cost-effective operations. Drones have the added advantage of being able to navigate and collect data from areas that are usually hazardous or out of reach to humans, eliminating the need for human workers to access these sites.

While still considered an emerging technology in some applications, embracing drones contributes significantly to the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of recycling operations. Read on to find out five ways that drones are gaining traction as a key piece of technology in recycling and waste management applications.

Site mapping

While drones play a part in all kinds of recycling applications, they’ve found a particularly important role in scrapyards. Drones can quickly survey large areas, utilizing remote sensing and advanced imaging technologies to identify metal types, quantities, and their precise locations. The aerial perspectives offered by drones are instrumental in mapping scrapyards, assisting in inventory management, optimizing layout planning, and enhancing overall productivity.

On the waste management front, landfills also see significant benefits from the utilization of drones as the high-resolution aerial images are valuable for mapping landfill sites and calculating landfill capacity. Equipped with advanced technology such as LiDAR, drones can create detailed 3D maps of facilities, providing insights into the layout, volume, and best utilization of space within the landfill. 

Monitoring methane emissions

Since methane is both colourless and odourless to humans, drones are being equipped with thermal cameras and deployed at waste facilities to monitor methane emissions from a safe distance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates that landfills address methane concentrations over 500 parts per million and has recently approved the first drone for methane emissions monitoring. The SnifferDRONE by Sniffer Robotics collects air samples through a nozzle, pumps them to an onboard detector, measures the methane concentration, and reports leak source locations – including GPS coordinates – with 90 percent accuracy.

There have also been increased drone initiatives in Canada, with the government recently providing the Comox Valley Regional District in British Columbia with $51,000 to use drones for methane monitoring. The goal of this effort is to assist landfill workers in assessing the effectiveness of the technology, determine the advantages and challenges in the adoption of drones, and offer practical examples of how they can be integrated into existing operations.

Illegal dumping enforcement

Already used in Dublin, Ireland, and multiple cities across the UK, more and law enforcement agencies are deploying drones equipped with cameras to surveil areas prone to illegal dumping. Drones bolster enforcement efforts by providing efficient evidence collection and thorough documentation of violations that are vital for investigations, while also acting as a general deterrent through their presence alone.

Beyond documentation, drones provide a cost-effective surveillance solution by covering expansive or hard-to-reach areas with minimal human labour requirements. Data gathered by drones also enables law enforcement to track dumping patterns and stay ahead of them.

Drones equipped with thermal cameras can monitor methane emissions from a safe distance.

Fire prevention

When equipped with thermal cameras, drones can identify hot spots that may indicate potential fire hazards. The real-time monitoring provided by drones also allows for the quick detection of signs of fire, enabling proactive measures to be taken.

One of the most effective examples of this technology is in Australia, where a fire prevention program targeting high-risk recycling and waste facilities was launched in 2021. As part of this, drones equipped with thermal imaging technology conduct random flyovers during the summer months to check for hot spots and ensure waste piles are being properly managed. Between November 2022 and October 2023, the officers carried out 380 fire prevention inspections at waste and recovery facilities, fining five facilities and issuing 117 remedial notices and four official warnings.

Ocean clean-up efforts

With plastic pollution affecting oceans and shorelines worldwide, there’s a lot of ground to cover – too much to cover on foot. By combining the power of drones with artificial intelligence, organizations are leveraging these tools to combat waste and pollution in the environment. One of these initiatives, the Plastic Tide, is a volunteer-based project that uses drone imagery of coastlines to train its AI algorithm to identify and map plastic debris. To improve the algorithm’s accuracy, a steady stream of drone images is needed to help distinguish between plastic and other coastal life. This has resulted in a database of over 7,000 images which allows others to develop strategies for tackling these hot spots and tailor their clean-up processes accordingly. The organization hopes that one day the database can be used to guide autonomous recovery vehicles as well.

Another key player in drone-based water cleanup efforts is the WasteShark by RanMarine, an aquatic drone that captures garbage in waterways and brings it back to land. The drones can hold 160 litres of materials and are equipped to autonomously navigate through rivers, harbours, and canals, collecting floating debris and waste as they move. Integrated LiDAR technology enhances safety and avoids collisions. 

This convergence of drones and advanced technology represents a powerful force in the ongoing battle against plastic pollution, allowing for collaboration between humans, drones, and AI for a more sustainable future.

Barriers to adoption

While a hugely beneficial tool, the adoption of drones in recycling and waste management operations faces several interconnected challenges. Regulatory compliance, such as airspace restrictions and privacy concerns, represents a significant hurdle, complicating widespread adoption. The initial costs associated with buying drones, sensors, and software are barriers as well, especially for smaller facilities with limited budgets. 

Despite these challenges, the future of drones holds promise as advancements in technology, regulations, and overall public perception continue to evolve. Overcoming these barriers requires a coordinated effort between regulatory bodies, industry stakeholders, and technology developers to improve the overall chances of incorporating drones into recycling and waste management practices.

<Original article published https://www.recyclingproductnews.com/article/41556/5-uses-for-drones-in-recycling-and-waste-management >

PortsToronto Network Remove 43kg and Nearly 63,000 Small Pieces of Plastic Pollution from Toronto Harbour in 2023

Toronto (February 26, 2024) – PortsToronto and the University of Toronto Trash Team are
proud today to release the official results of the 2023 Trash Trapping Program’s research
season. From May through October 2023, PortsToronto’s network of trash traps, which includes
eight Seabins and two WasteSharks, removed 43kg of litter, including 62,996 pieces of small
plastic pollution from the Toronto Harbour. This includes items such as plastic pellets, pieces of
foam from food containers, plastic bottle caps, cigarette butts and fatbergs (*see description

2023 Results and Findings
Tiny debris, including microplastics (items smaller than five-millimetres) remain by far the most
common items by count collected by Seabins. Plastic items in the environment eventually break down into microplastics (often irregularly shaped small fragments), which can make it difficult to determine their origins. This year, using the same methodology, the research team has begun to see signs of a decrease in the amount of microplastics collected in PortsToronto Seabins, which could suggest the benefits of additional outreach and education efforts toward waste reduction.
WasteSharks, which are equipped with a large catch basin, captured mostly large plastic
fragments – including large pieces of foam from construction and food containers, hard plastic
fragments, as well as plastic water bottles, caps, cups, lids and straws. Data also revealed that
fatbergs were within the top ten most commonly found items in both the Seabins and the
WasteSharks. *These rock-like masses are formed by the combination of fat, grease and
wastewater materials, including wet wipes and diapers, that are released with wastewater
redirected to the lake during heavy rainfall.
In August 2023, PortsToronto launched a pilot program with two RanMarine Technology-supplied WasteShark aquadrones. This pilot program represented a Canadian first for these innovative trash traps, which are remotely operated and skim the surface of the water to collect floating debris. Over the course of only three expeditions in October 2023, the Toronto WasteSharks “Ebb and Flow” collected 19.2 kilograms of floating trash, including nearly 600 pieces of microplastics. With a larger capacity and remote controlled agility, the Toronto WasteSharks are able to collect a higher volume of debris in a shorter period, collecting nearly the same amount as all the Seabins combined over the entire field season. These can also be piloted into problem areas such as the corners of slips where we know that debris and other material can accumulate.

Background of Program
Since 2019, PortsToronto and the University of Toronto Trash Team have collaborated on the
Trash Trapping Program, which employs trash trapping technology and solutions-based
research to tackle floating debris in the Toronto Harbour. Through this program, researchers
measure and analyse the debris and plastic pollution collected by trash traps in order to track
trends in floating debris, determine the source of the material and use data to identify upstream solutions. This data and key findings and shared in order to raise awareness and encourage behavioural and policy change that could help reduce and prevent floating debris in Toronto’s Harbour. To view detailed data, results and mitigation strategies identified during the 2023 research season, please consult the U of T Trash Team’s website.
The PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program is part of the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables
Strategy (Floatables Strategy), which is a collaborative strategy with a mission to reduce plastic
pollution and other floating litter in the harbour. The Floatables Strategy incorporates additional methods of and locations for capturing floating debris, including storm drains. Further detail and waste characterization results can be found here.
Follow along with us on social media @PortsToronto and @Toronto_Sharks, and view a video
summary of our 2023 Trash Trapping Program season, here.

“Floating debris and plastic pollution in the water is not a problem unique to Toronto. We know that this is an issue prevalent in urban waterways around the world. What is unique about Toronto is that we have a coalition of like-minded organizations that have come together to find innovative solutions that leverage new technology and local research and trades to help make a difference,” says RJ Steenstra, President and CEO of PortsToronto. “Thank you to all partners who have contributed to the Trash Trapping Program’s progress thus far. We look forward to continuing this important work for years to come.”
“Our collaboration with PortsToronto is invaluable,” said Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Head of
Operations at the U of T Trash Team. “Together, we make a huge impact in our community. We
clean the inner harbour. We collect data to inform upstream solutions. We increase waste
literacy among the public. And, we provide summer jobs to many students that provide training in science and application.”

Fast Facts
 Researchers estimate that 10,000 metric tonnes of waste enter the Great Lakes each
year, much of it plastic.
 A common occurrence in urban waterways, floating debris comes from a variety of
sources – including overflowing or windblown trash bins at the water’s edge, storm water
runoff and industry.
 Anthropogenic (originating from human activity) debris, and microplastics in particular
can harm wildlife and contaminate drinking water, and negatively impact public
enjoyment of cherished shared water resources.

 Since the Trash Trapping Program’s launch in summer 2019, Seabins in the
PortsToronto network have removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of plastic debris
from the Toronto Harbour, moving the needle toward cleaner water in Lake Ontario.
 PortsToronto Seabins are deployed at four locations on the Toronto waterfront and at
the Outer Harbour Marina (4).
 In 2023, PortsToronto launched a pilot program with two WasteShark aquadrones,
known as the Toronto WasteSharks, Ebb and Flow.
 The WasteShark aquadrone is designed to skim the surface of the water to collect
floating debris and waste from the aquatic environment.

About PortsToronto
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $14 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.

About The University of Toronto Trash Team
The U of T Trash Team, co-founded in 2017, is a science-based community outreach
organization made up of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, researchers, local
volunteers and staff all working together with a common goal to increase waste literacy in our
community while reducing plastic pollution in our ecosystems. Their local projects
use research to inform policy and management, and education and community outreach to
increase waste literacy, engage the public and implement effective solutions. Their ultimate goal is to inspire an assortment of solutions resulting in the global reduction of waste and healthier habitats for wildlife and people.

About the PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program

The PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program employs trash trapping technology and solutions-
based research to tackle plastic pollution and protect Toronto’s waters for future generations.

Since 2019, the Trash Trapping Program has removed hundreds of thousands of small pieces
of plastic pollution from the Toronto Harbour. It is led by PortsToronto and the U of T Trash
Team, in partnership with Swim Drink Fish, the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA)
and the City of Toronto BIA Office Innovation Grant, Nieuport Aviation, the Toronto Zoo,
Harbourfront Centre, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). It is part of the
Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy, a partnership led by TRCA, and of the International
Trash Trapping Network, an initiative led by the U of T Trash Team and Ocean Conservancy,
and has influenced the launch of similar trash trapping and data collection programs throughout the Great Lakes and beyond.

About the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy
The Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy (Floatables Strategy) is a collaborative strategy
with a mission to reduce plastic pollution and other floating litter in the harbour. It is a
collaboration between the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority the Toronto Remedial
Action Plan, University of Toronto Trash Team, PortsToronto, City of Toronto, Swim Drink
Fish, Waterfront Business Improvement Area, and Harbourfront Centre. Partners in Project
Green oversees the Floatables Strategy on behalf of the Toronto and Region Conservation

Media Contact
Jessica Pellerin
Manager, Media Relations and Public Affairs, PortsToronto jpellerin@portstoronto.com

Cleanup in EarthShare New Jersey: An Innovative Solution for Waterway Restoration

Water pollution is a pressing global issue that threatens ecosystems and human health. As pollution levels continue to rise, innovative technologies are being developed to combat this problem. One such technology is the RanMarine WasteShark, an aquatic drone designed to cleanup and remove floating debris from waterways. 

How the WasteShark Operates
The WasteShark aquadrone, developed by RanMarine Technology, operates akin to a water-based Roomba vacuum cleaner. With a capture basket capacity of 42 gallons, this coffee table-sized robotic drone demonstrates its remarkable capabilities by efficiently collecting and removing up to 1100 pounds of waste on a daily basis from diverse aquatic environments such as harbors, marinas, estuaries, and lakes. It excels in accessing small, hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that debris is effectively tackled in critical chokeholds. Whether operated manually through remote control or autonomously following a pre-programmed route using an online dashboard, the WasteShark’s adaptability guarantees highly effective and efficient cleaning operations.

Types of Debris Removed
The WasteShark is designed to combat various types of debris polluting our waterways. It targets floating debris or trash and even small plastic pollution, which poses a significant threat to marine life and water quality. Additionally, the WasteShark can remove unwanted biomass vegetation from the water surface. Harmful algal blooms release toxins that contaminate drinking water, causing illnesses for animals and humans.

Global Impact
The global impact of water pollution around the world can be greatly addressed by solutions like the WasteShark. Researchers estimate that 10,000 metric tonnes of waste enter the Great Lakes alone each year, with a significant portion being plastic. By efficiently removing this waste, WasteShark helps mitigate the harmful effects of anthropogenic debris on wildlife, drinking water, and public enjoyment of water resources. Its contribution to cleaner waterways positively impacts ecosystems and human well-being on a global scale.

Organizations Utilizing the WasteShark
One notable organization utilizing the WasteShark is PortsToronto. In partnership with RanMarine Technology, PortsToronto has launched a pilot program that introduced two WasteShark aquadrones, named Ebb and Flow, to the Toronto Harbour. As part of PortsToronto’s Trash Trapping Program, Ebb and Flow join the network of Seabins deployed to capture floating debris and small plastic pollution. This program is supported by a grant initiative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

PortsToronto’s Trash Trapping Program, in collaboration with the University of Toronto Trash Team and the International Trash Trap Network, recognizes the invaluable contribution of the WasteShark aquadrones in collecting vital data on the type, amount, and sources of debris in the Toronto Harbour and Lake Ontario. By utilizing the WasteSharks, PortsToronto can significantly enhance its trash-trapping capabilities and expand research efforts to gain a deeper understanding of plastic pollution and its effective mitigation strategies.

The RanMarine WasteShark represents an innovative solution for combating water pollution and the accumulation of debris in aquatic environments. Its ability to collect floating debris, small plastic pollution, and biomass has a significant global impact by improving water quality, preserving ecosystems, and safeguarding public health. Through the efforts of organizations such as PortsToronto, WasteShark contributes to data collection, research, and collaboration necessary to address water pollution on a larger scale. As the demand for sustainable and efficient cleaning technologies continues to grow, WasteShark offers hope in creating cleaner waterways worldwide.

Original article: https://www.earthsharenj.org/the-ranmarine-wasteshark-an-innovative-solution-for-waterway-cleanup/

IoT: Pioneering the Future of Aquatic Conservation in Partnership with Deutsche Telekom [Video]

VIDEO LINK> Explore the synergy between RanMarine and Deutsche Telekom IoT in our exclusive insight into the collaborative efforts reshaping the future of aquatic conservation. Discover how this innovative partnership merges RanMarine’s cutting-edge autonomous aquatic drones with Deutsche Telekom’s advanced technology solutions. Gain a behind-the-scenes look at the impactful initiatives driving sustainable change, tackling global water pollution, and preserving aquatic ecosystems. Join us in unveiling the transformative power of technology and environmental stewardship as we dive into the dialogue between two visionary forces shaping a cleaner, healthier world.

PortsToronto launches Canadian debut of WasteShark aquadrone

PortsToronto, in partnership with RanMarine Technology, today launched a pilot program that saw two WasteShark aquadrones make their Canadian debut in the Toronto Harbour.

As part of PortsToronto’s larger Trash Trapping Program, two new WasteSharks, Ebb and Flow, will join PortsToronto’s network of Seabins in capturing floating debris and small plastic pollution from the surface of the water.

“I commend PortsToronto’s Trash Trapping Program for their commitment to removing waste from Lake Ontario,” said David Piccini, Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “The new WasteShark aquadrones are an innovation that will only add to this success and build on the work the Government of Ontario has done with partners to launch the largest plastic capture initiative of its kind in the Great Lakes.”

Read the full story by ENVIRONMENT JOURNAL here

RanMarine Technology unveils a pioneering initiative for a cleaner aquatic environment with Ports Toronto

Toronto, Ontario 9 August 2023

RanMarine, backed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has introduced WasteSharks to Canadian waters. Leveraging the Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s DHI program, aimed at bolstering Dutch businesses abroad, PortsToronto and Port of Halifax are beneficiaries of the latest aqua-drones. This initiative aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals, promoting innovation, feasibility studies, and investment readiness.

Now in the summer of 2023, PortsToronto can proudly introduce their WasteShark aqua-drones named “Ebb and Flow”, as part of their visionary project set to revolutionise water cleanliness in Toronto Harbour. In tandem with PortsToronto’s Seabins, these autonomous Wastesharks will adeptly capture floating debris and plastic pollution, championing sustainability. Employing a Roomba-like approach, they effortlessly skim the water surface, channeling waste through a specialized catch basin and net. With a robust 180-liter capacity, each Wasteshark can eliminate up to 1100 lbs of waste daily. Based at the Outer Harbour Marina, these aquatic wonders will traverse target zones across the Toronto Harbour and waterfront, collecting data while supporting PortsToronto’s partnership with the University of Toronto (UofT) Trash Team.

About PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program

The PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program employs trash-trapping technology and solutions-based research to tackle plastic pollution and protect Toronto’s waters for future generations. Since 2019, the program has removed hundreds of thousands of small pieces of plastic pollution from the Toronto Harbour, moving the needle toward cleaner water in Lake Ontario.

The program is led by PortsToronto and the U of T Trash Team, in partnership with the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA) and the City of Toronto BIA Office Innovation Grant, Nieuport Aviation, the Toronto Zoo, Harbourfront Centre and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). It is part of the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy, a collaborative strategy with a mission to reduce plastic pollution and other floating litter in the harbour, and of the International Trash Trapping Network, an initiative led by the U of T Trash Team and Ocean Conservancy, and has influenced the launch of similar trash trapping and data collection programs throughout the Great Lakes and beyond.

A Trash-Eating Sea Monster Appears in the Hudson!

A team of scientists and environmentalists tests out the WasteShark, an unmanned watercraft that vacuums up soda cans and potato-chip bags.

WasteShark is not a shark. It is an unmanned watercraft that its creators named for a shark, owing to similarities between how WasteShark collects its prey and the feeding habits of the Rhincodon typus, or whale shark. Cruising slowly, the whale shark takes in water and filters it for plankton and krill; WasteShark, meanwhile, filters urban waters for trash. But, whereas the whale shark can grow to the length of a subway car, WasteShark is only five feet long, three and a half feet wide, and a foot and a half thick. As the bright-orange fibreglass craft floated on the Hudson River recently, off Pier 40—collecting trash at or near the surface in its wire-basket-like interior—it looked less like a fish than like something accidentally dropped from a cruise liner. “I thought it was somebody’s luggage,” a member of the Village Community Boathouse said, after WasteShark whisked past.

When full, WasteShark’s hold is emptied by its minders—in this case, Carrie Roble, a scientist who is in charge of research and education at Hudson River Park, and Siddhartha Hayes, who oversees the park’s environmental monitoring. Hayes grew up jumping into swimming holes in the Catskills, while Roble swam in metropolitan Detroit, affording her insight into a still widely held view of urban rivers. “I used to swim in the Detroit River, and people would see me and say, ‘I can’t wait to see your third arm,’ ” she said.

WasteShark, which costs twenty thousand dollars, is joining the park’s scientific team more as mascot than as player. Roble hopes that it will generate interest among passersby and among “field assistants” (interns), who will pilot the trash-eating drone this summer. “We see WasteShark as a tool,” she said.

WasteShark’s latest test run in the Hudson happened to take place on the very day that forest fires in Quebec turned New York into a Mars-scape, adding a sense of urgency to WasteShark’s mission. As Roble and Hayes wheeled it out on a dolly from Pier 40’s Wetlab, the park’s aquarium and field station, they donned N95 masks and life jackets, and were joined by two interns: Vivian Chavez, a student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Stefan Valdez, from Lehman College, in the Bronx.

They lugged WasteShark down a gangway to a dock floating in a cove bounded by Pier 40 and the pier leading to the Holland Tunnel ventilation shaft—discharging carbon monoxide and pulling in what was passing that day for fresh air. A wake caused by a ferry buffeted the dock, sending an observer to his knees. Hayes knelt by WasteShark, touching its stern. “O.K., so these are the thrusters,” he said, pressing the start button. “I’m holding it until it’s blue.”

Roble detailed WasteShark’s features—a camera, sensors for measuring depth and temperature—while managing expectations. In 2020, Roble and Hayes published, in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, a comprehensive analysis of the lower Hudson estuary’s high levels of microplastics, against which WasteShark is powerless. WasteShark is the robotic assistant to a volunteer shoreline trash pickup. “For that plastic water bottle that is just out of reach,” Roble explained.

They lowered WasteShark off the edge and, with a handheld controller, turned on the thrusters, which propelled the craft quietly. Chavez took the controls. “It kind of feels like you’re walking your pet,” Roble told her, “ ’cause we end up following it along.”

As the skies darkened, Chavez smiled and set a course for some rejectamenta. Roble mused about potential attachments, including one that resembles an Arctic fox, to deter congregating Canada geese, which are a threat to passenger jets. “Or maybe googly eyes,” she said.

Chavez attributed her immediate proficiency to her gaming skills, recently honed via the latest Legend of Zelda game, Tears of the Kingdom. She handed the controller to Valdez, who steered WasteShark toward the West Street shore. “I think it handles well,” he said.

“They are the guinea pigs, and they are basically loving it,” Roble said, pleased.

A waft of trash came up from under the pier, and a gaggle of high schoolers walked out onto the pier to take pictures of the orange sky. “It’s the end of the world,” one of them shouted—then he spotted WasteShark. “Wait, are you guys monitoring something?”

After an hour, WasteShark was heaved onto the dock, and Roble and Hayes, wearing surgical gloves, picked through its haul: a baseball, bits of wood, a Diet Coke can, a water chestnut, a cigar wrapper, a toy-A.T.V. part (“Always a lot of toys,” Roble said), an amphipod, a glop of gray mush not immediately identifiable, a bag of Utz barbecue-flavored Ripples, bladder wrack, seaweed (“Good adaptation,” Hayes said), a Canada-goose gosling (deceased), a coffee-cup lid, and an Amazon bag.

By Robert Sullivan July 24, 2023 See article on link

Defeating blue-green algae: Meet the advanced MegaShark

SUSTAINABILITY – RanMarine’s aqua drones help clean the water by combating plastics and (blue-green) algae, which plague Dutch waters every summer.

Nothing beats a dip in natural swimming water during a hot summer day, right? But every year, the same question arises again: Is the water safe for swimming, or will these awful blue-green algae prevent us from entering the water? With the WasteShark and MegaShark, RanMarine not only removes plastic waste and unwanted algae. “We are now working hard on developing an advanced MegaShark that can target the harmful and annoying blue-green algae as well,” says Richard Hardiman, CEO of the Rotterdam-based company.

In the ongoing battle against water pollution, RanMarine is making waves with its innovative water drone technology. The company is tackling the global issue of water pollution with the WasteShark and the Mega Shark: high-tech devices that glide through the water, collecting pollutants. “You can compare it to an autonomous vacuum cleaner, but instead of vacuuming your lounge, they vacuum the top thirty centimeters of waterways”, explains Hardiman. The drones are equipped with sensors and cameras and can navigate complex waterways.

The MegaShark
Natural waters face a big problem nowadays: algal blooms. The consequences of excessive algae range from unattractive appearance and unpleasant odors – bad for tourism and overall well-being – to severe disruptions in aquatic ecosystems by depleting oxygen levels and blocking sunlight, damaging plants, and harming the fish. “The blooms are fueled by excessive nutrient runoff of farmer lands and profit from climate change. As temperatures rise and the population grows, we must feed more people. That means more farming and more fertilizers. I foresee that algae will become a huge problem in the future”, Hardiman explains.

Read more here> LINK

The Robot Predator with an Appetite for Waste

The latest innovation from RanMarine Technology, the WasteShark is the marine drone cleaning up the world’s waterways. CEO, Richard Hardiman, tells us more.

Making waves in news circles as a ground-breaking robotics innovation, the WasteShark is an aquadrone designed to remove plastics and floating debris from our waters. After launching in London’s Canary Wharf last month, we speak with the company behind its invention, RanMarine Technology, to discuss waging war against floating pollution.


Tell us about WasteShark’s inception and what inspired its creation?

Richard Hardiman, CEO (RH): I remember I was sat at a waterfront café in Cape Town, South Africa, and I was watching these two men taking trash out of the water using a net. I thought, there must be a more efficient way of collecting the waste, and started doodling on the back of an envelope, trying to design a better method of solving that problem. I gave myself that challenge, and kept coming back to the idea. I really had an ambition to create something and eventually settled on the idea of a robotic boat based on autonomous units constantly swimming through the water and collecting the waste.

Although humans are responsible for the majority of the waste in our waters, I believe we can be deployed in far more impactful ways than simply collecting it by hand. We wanted to help solve the plastic pollution problem, with the WasteShark’s primary purpose being the collection of rubbish. But as we started developing it, we realised that the WasteShark was gathering various kinds of seaweed and algae, so we decided to use it to also collect biomass.

As these autonomous robots are swimming, we are tracking their every move, so we also thought, why don’t we use this to track data on the water itself? By adding sensors to the unit, we adapted it to become a mobile water quality data monitor, gathering information that we could pass back to our clients. This can indicate temperature changes or chemical imbalances anywhere in the water.

RanMarine Technology WasteBasket

How has the WasteShark been received since its launch? 

RH: It’s been extremely well-received since we started selling them in 2019. We continue to develop it to better suit the needs of our customers, and in the last year, we have really hit our stride. It has proved to be extremely useful as a unit that can reach the smaller places where plastics and marine biomass collect. We don’t try and clean the whole football field as it were, instead we concentrate on the smaller areas where these things can get stuck. Based on the feedback we have received so far, it’s an extremely robust and practical tool to use.

Could you tell us about some of your main customers? 

RH: We have some major commercial clients including Disney and Universal Theme Parks, and most recently we have launched in Canary Wharf. We also work with a lot of ports – in Canada we’re in the Port of Toronto, and the Port of Halifax, alongside a number of major cities in the US. Our customers are generally split between commercial interests, where water needs to be cleaned around commercial activity, or cities that have waste management programmes that we can enter into to help clean up their waterways and canals.

RanMarine Technology Richard Hardiman CEO and founder 300px

My dream is to have thousands of these units floating around, monitoring and cleaning our waters while we sleep”

Richard Hardiman, CEO, RanMarine Technology

Could you outline your future plans for the WasteShark?

RH: My dream is to have thousands of these units floating around, monitoring and cleaning our waters while we sleep. We’re nearing the point now where we are a 24-hour operation.

We’re making major moves in the US, we’re in Israel, Africa, South Korea, and at the moment, the UK is a primary target for us.

The numbers prove that WasteShark is 85 percent more effective than other current purpose-built mobility units. As we become a 24-hour operation, we expect that to rise to 98 percent effectiveness at cleaning water currents. Our customers are already starting to see the results, and everything that we have in our roadmap is only going to make this better.

I’m extremely optimistic for the future, since our engineers have done a fantastic job in getting us closer to our nirvana of being able to clean waters all the time with minimal interference.

Although it is geared towards a slightly different market, we have just built the MegaShark, which is 10 times the capacity of our current version. This will launch commercially later this year, and we’re incredibly excited about it. For me, it’s all about creating more robots to do a better job of cleaning our waterways.

Published by Phoebe Harper – Editorial Director of EME Outlook