Boyan Slat concept boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JosephT, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    As I was surfing YouTube this video popped into my "suggested viewing" list. Boyan has quite an interesting concept here with his Manta Ray style hull and extended booms. The boat is designed to round up plastic piles of garbage that are floating in the ocean. The plastic can then be processed (e.g. for recycling).

    Do review the concept and chime in. Perhaps if we have enough folks to put on their optimism hats, review the concept and perhaps send them along to Boyan's team. Below is a description of the solution along with a link to his web site:

    *****
    Solution: The platforms will be completely self-supportive, receiving their energy from e.g. the sun, currents and waves. And by letting the platforms' wings sway like an actual manta ray, we can ensure contacts of the inlets with the surface, even in the roughest weather.
    *****
    Web site: http://www.boyanslat.com/plastic5/

    Below is a YouTube clip on the discussion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROW9F-c0kIQ

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Here's another pic that shows how this boat funnels plastic junk into a chute. The junk makes it way aft to a holding area. It's quite a nifty concept. I would consider some additional features:

    -Put access panels above the chute to help free up junk that may get stuck in there.

    -Configure the boat for divers as well so they can cut up & process old fishing nets.

    [​IMG]

    The Pacific Ocean, for example, has currents that create a convergence zone for this plastic trash. Being closer to the equator should let these boats perform rather well without being damaged.

    [​IMG]
    Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch

    Overall though I can see a boat like this being scaled up to handle more trash (and bigger chunks of plastic trash). It's small size does seem to make its mission limited. Some of the debris fields I've read about are massive so it will require a fleet of huge boats to team up & make progress.

    A boat of the current size would be great for larger ports & tourist places that are larger contributors to plastic trash that floods into the ocean from various watersheds.

    I do like the concept though and wouldn't mind lending a hand on the project.

     
  3. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    Well it is interesting but the presentation has way too many blanket statements that need clarification before one can judge it more carefully.

    I do know that few solar panels will not run a system that processes over 2 container of wet plastic mush per day (55 containers /day / fleet of 24 platforms).
    Also to think that 24 units could cover a meaningful sweep it means the booms would have to be extremely long. Just think 500 meter booms (2 per unit) and you get only 24 km of sweep area - impressive but not when you look at the size of an ocean.

    Also the engineering challenge of an "Autonomous" platform with 1km of booms is not a small feat. It takes bit more than a couple of hatches to take a rendering into a working vessel.

    what about a rogue container/whale/storms - a storm can have forces that rip apart even robust systems - let alone the spindly booms of something like this.

    Its a neat idea even though the only real new aspect is the fact that the vessels are anchored.

    Even when trying to be optimistic statements like:

    "The platforms will be completely self-supportive, receiving their energy from e.g. the sun, currents and waves. And by letting the platforms' wings sway like an actual manta ray, we can ensure contacts of the inlets with the surface, even in the roughest weather."

    don't quite cut it.

    Also I have hard time understanding one basic thing:
    one platform collects a couple of containers worth plastic per day. What was the concentration of the plastic again?
    It would mean that HUGE amount of water needs to be directed to one platform. How do you ensure that it happens? If you block sea current with a floating curtain wouldn't it just go down and flow below it - taking the semi buoyant plastic mass with it?
    For this not to happen all the surface water would have to flow through the system - that means some MASSIVE flow through the platform. Not just some natural flow by the currents.
     
  4. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    I am a natural nay sayer. I think its cool to try and come up with solutions. I am part of the necessary pessimist test system to raise issues - the optimists can then try to prove me wrong.
     
  5. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Kerosene, you make some very valid points. The amount of solar panels will provide nowhere near the amount of voltage this vessel will require to charge and operate autonomously. If it sat still during the day (e.g. to charge via solar) that means it would largely be operating at night. How does a skipper spot plastic trash at night (night vision goggles?).

    The booms would surely sheer off in a storm so they would definitely need to be retractable.

    Being a former military man who has sailed the oceans on a monstrous aircraft carrier, I feel a strong need to scale up this design on GI JOE MILITARY LEVEL.

    Rather than power it by solar I would power it with miniature nuclear power plants. Also, the design would be scaled up to allow the for a comprehensive trash removal & plastic processing (grind up the plastic & turn to powder for use again). Imagine a huge Manta Ray, shallow draft ship.

    e.g.
    Length: 300m
    Beam: 300m
    Draft: 8m

    Such a vessel would be a:
    • Floating plastic processing mini-city.
    • Capable of fetching surface debris (e.g. via booms & trailing nets) as well as trawling for loose/abandoned fishing nets.
    • Capable of extended, round-the-clock operations up to 6 months at a time (reasonable deployment tour).
    • Able to offload ground up/powdered plastic to passing cargo ships that could carry it off to commercial ports for further recycling.
    • Staffed by trained crew
    • Arguably funded internationally, though the development could easily be done by industrialized nations with the technical know-how.
    The sheer magnitude of the problem needs to be matched with a vessel that can truly handle the mission. No question it does warrant a more serious look at a vessel that can do the job. I will be writing my US Senators to push for further investigation of this concept.

    Thanks again for the response Kerosene. Keep the ideas coming. :idea::idea::idea:
     
  6. mudsailor
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    mudsailor Junior Member

  7. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    Very good and my thoughts exactly
     
  8. peterAustralia
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    peterAustralia Senior Member

    nice idea

    however the ocean is really really big. Possibly cheaper and more effective in stopping plastic at its source. Here in melbourne australia we have moored garbage collectors that collect floating rubbish (usually plastic), when it comes down the river. Yes they need emptying.

    Here we can afford to install these devices and afford to empty them. There are still places available for tens of thousands of more such collectors world wide. Trouble is who is going to pay for it. When you have people living on 2 dollars a day, its hard to convince governments to pay to remove gargage from city rivers.

    If there was a charity, where an idvidual could say donate $50 a year to operate these booms I would be in that, or even put in a bit more, no stress. A few thousand people, all chipping in would soon be able to get it up and running. Would need to be audited to ensure money was not stolen.

    A fixed boom could trap in done day as much rubbish as that skimming boat could store in total, for a tiny fraction of the price. If you dont know what I am talking about, i guess i could take some photos of the booms we have here in melbourne. Basically they are vee shaped, rubbish goes into a holding area, and there is a one way gate, so that its open on an outgoing tide, and closes on an incoming tide so that the rubbish does not escape.

    Another option might be to pay poor people 3 or 4 dollars a day to do the same job, there are litterally billions of people that live on 2 dollars a day or less, so four dollars a day is a very good job for someone earning a small fraction of that

    here is just one image i could find (took my 10 seconds), see that there is heaps of it laying around, but no incentive to clean it up

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/2010/04/welcome-to-lagos-itll-defy-you.shtml
     
  9. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    Peter - the original vessel is supposed to be anchored -as in static. But the later posted link trashes the concept on so many levels that the whole discussion is more academic at this point. It is obvious that the original concept is nothing but dreaming.
     
  10. peterAustralia
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    peterAustralia Senior Member

    OK... guess your right

    to me, its way way cheaper to stop garbage entering the ocean, where rivers, creeks, estuaries enter the ocean, than to trawl the ocean or moor in the ocean. At river mouths where cities are rubbish is everywhere, thats where to start.. once that is done (and that is a huge maybe) then you can look into more agressive approaches.. but i cant stop feeling, gee the ocean is big.
     
  11. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

  12. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

  13. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    The Boyan Manta Ray concept doesn't look like a feasible idea to me; it may add to - rather than reduce - oceanic garbage. We need to identify and look at the main issues; I offer these -

    1 Garbage removal rate must exceed garbage creation rate
    2 Garbage tipping into ocean has to be controlled, reduced and ultimately stopped
    3 We can deal only access the floating garbage (this issue is not as trivial as it may sound)
    4 Project must be technically feasible
    5 Project must be economically feasible, better still make a profit
    6 Devices must survive ocean conditions or be cheap and replaceable (and sink when destroyed)

    I see the following points arising from these:

    Item 1 requires hard data, items 1 and 2 are essentially political and international; good luck on dealing with those at the UN.

    Concerning item, 3 non-floating garbage already in the ocean is of interest only in sofar as it involves pollution - especially mobile pollution - and again it is highly political.

    Technical and economic feasibility (4 & 5) are closely related. A feasible approach such as adapting fishing vessels and nets to collect floating garbage would probably not be economically feasible due to labor costs for example.

    Autonomous garbage gathering devices should not add to the burden if they become disabled; ideally they should sink if they cannot be retrieved, and be constructed of materials that will not harm oceanic life.

    At the very least any proposal should pass the above tests, perhaps there should be more.
     
  14. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Agreed it would be futile to tackle the problem in the ocean without also putting a stop to the problem at the source. A multi-faceted effort to end the problem is needed.

    Boyan's concept was just that. I don't think it will work for the reasons noted. However, I'm an optimist and feel at a minimum existing commercial & military vessels could be leveraged to take a chunk out of the problem.

    Large ships, for example, could snag and crank in huge amounts of floating & partially submerged plastic. From there they could grind it up and send it off in bulk to be processed further.

    To leave these massive islands of plastic trash in the oceans without doing anything is a huge failure in and of itself. Peter pointed out Australia uses some boats to capture this stuff. That's a start and can be tacked on as a successful solution.

    The problem with plastic often starts inland too. Small streams turn into rivers which flow into the ocean. Rain storms wash plastic hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles until they end up in the ocean. Thus, educating cities, states & nations better on watershed management is important for success.

    Snagging & grinding the stuff up like you see in the pic below shouldn't be that tough.

    [​IMG]

    Ref: http://www.americanreef.org/marinedebris.html


    Since I've gotten heavily into kayaking & sailing the gravity of the situation is all the more apparent.
     

  15. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I agree it would be a gross failure of our generation to leave this stuff to do whatever harm it will do over the decades, let alone centuries. However I doubt that existing commercial & military vessels could deal even partially with the problem without significant modifications and new equipment; they would have to be specialised.

    The stuff collects in the oceanic gyres and I wonder how many of those intersect with sea routes. However, there are fishing vessels lying around unused or underused all over the World, fishing is best done well clear of fast-moving sea transports, and the task does seem to be somewhat related to fishing.

    The problem is collection and getting the stuff to where it can be processed. A big part of the problem is its distribution over vast distances and the remoteness of collections sites from industrially developed countries with the technical resources to process the stuff, and of course the stuff is still fairly thinly distributed even at the gyres.

    In these respects, it greatly resembles international fishing. Perhaps a similar solution might work, with huge factory ships doing preliminary processing and sorting, freighters to deliver sorted stuff to where it is most in demand, all supported by fleets of smaller vessels to collect and haul it to the factory ships and land-based recycling resources. Perhaps the smaller collecting vessels can be automated; with a factory ship within a few hundred miles the problem of rescuing failed robot ships would be easier and it would be safer to use robot ships in locations free of transport traffic.

    A big problem would be cost; no one nation is going to step forward and open their treasury. Commercialization would only be practical for a limited time if the sources are likely to dry up through the medium of education and recycling. However, that might not be as big a problem as all that, given that the task of educating cities, states & nations has barely been started in Western countries and will take at least 25 to 50 years longer to achieve in developing countries, assuming they can leave behind their obsessions with war, domination of neighbours and paranoid fear of - and desire to exterminate - other peoples with different culture or religion, .

    Although the entire thing can still turn out to be utterly impractical, it would be nice if someone competent and adequately funded were to take an interest in getting things off the ground.
     
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