A team that includes French yachtsman Yvan Bourgnon is developing a concept yacht that would collect plastic debris from the ocean and use it as fuel. The 183-foot catamaran, called Manta, would be propelled by a combination of sails and electric motors.
According to a joint report from Reuters and the World Economic Forum, the catamaran will remove plastics and convert the waste into fuel to help power the boat’s electric motors. The design is in the planning stages, and developers hope a prototype can be launched in 2024.
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Bourgnon said that deploying 400 of the boats would clean one-third of the plastic debris from the oceans. “To fold your arms and say ‘No, we’ll do nothing, we’ll leave it, we’ll focus on dry land, we’ll leave the waste in the ocean,’ is totally irresponsible,” Bourgnon said in the report.
As Manta moves through the water, conveyor belts scoop up and sort waste and feed it into a burner. The melted plastic produces synthetic gas to power a turbine, which generates electricity for the boat’s operation. The resulting electricity, combined with solar cells and wind turbines on deck, will make the boat 70 percent self-sufficient, according to Bourgnon.