Designing a plastic bottle island/floating platform

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JamesG, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    wellmer New Member

    Even better you could take the calories necessary to melt it and form it from the plastic itself...if you have energy and building material for free - you just need a bit of tecnology to make it work. Plastic is the most versatil material on earth - you can build anything if you have a unlimited source of plastic. Somebody should check that with the seasteading people... building a seastead and clean up the ocean - all in one - i like that! sounds funny but that idea has POTENTIAL ! - if you can build a city in the desert founded only on casinos (las vegas) why not a existance on mining and transforming enourmous amounts of free and easy available plastic. There are companies that exist from recycling plastic they have to pay for... why should it NOT work with free plastic. The plastic goods need no cooling, just a ship to transport them to the commerce centers to be used (and probably thrown away) again...
    1 person likes this.
  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest


    when wellmer gets enthusiastic, something must be wrong with the project. Bear in mind: he´s our expert on sinking devices!
  3. Tcubed
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Tcubed Boat Designer

    Uhm.... So does that mean no more plastic boats from now on?
  4. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Here we go again, the genius is here to save the island. :p
    He will call for investor, he is a specialist to call investors,
    For what? that is the question.
    He can add the "garbadge plastic dumping island" to is web-site.
    Nice couple. :p
  5. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    JamesG Junior Member

    Yeah I was thinking that I would do cleanups to get the plastic. When I pick up pieces of plastic that's not buoyant (not a bottle) I can probably reform it by using a hot mold. The mold will turn various plastic pieces into buoyant bottles for the "hull".

    I'm really not trying to turn this into a money making business, although i know I could. Building this island is purely for fun and doing something good.

    Can you tell me more about using plastic as fuel? I've heard of this being done in incinerators i think. I would imagine that it would pollute like crazy though. I figured i would get some old diesel engines and run vegetable oil in them. If I capsize the oil couldn't do any damage to the ocean since its non toxic. Oh and its free fuel since you can get it from restaurants.

    I might be interested in doing benefit concerts along the coast to raise money for sending ships out to the garbage patch. The ships could bring back a few scoops at a time and build the island bigger. As the island gets bigger people will really take notice at how much **** is out there in the water. It all comes from land, then goes into the rivers, then out to sea. Have you ever seen pictures of the LA river? Its a real problem. Birds are dying in the millions from eating plastic which fills their stomachs and causes mal-nourishment. The outer islands of Hawaii are more plastic than sand. The problem is bad on the beaches in Alaska too. Its bad everywhere. The currents of the ocean collect plastic concentrated areas, called Gyres, then throw it off onto beaches.

    I think this could be a very fun and meaningful project, but I want to take it slow because I think turning it into a money grabbing business would cheapen it. It seems like the only real problem is that of registration, inspections, and bureaucratic non-sense. I wonder what it will take to get past that.

    People on here are saying to be prepared for a long battle. I guess if its going to be that bad I need to walk through the front door with a suit on, sort of speak. Non-profit all the way. Rub some elbows. Work with other environmental companies. But I prefer to 'just do it' and not kiss *** to do something that's innately good.

  6. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I might point out that the plasticizers in plastics ( things extremely toxic like BP-A ) are not particularly stable in salt water, which is why plastics tend to photo-degrade into little bits easily ingested by ( and extreemly deadly to by the way ) marine life. Your floating island of toxins is going to not so slowly degrade into its constituent components one of which is going to have to do some long distance swimming. The rest are going to go on for eons as persistent bio toxin accumulators being ingested by an endless parade of sea life on its last gasp. Best thing you could do is collect all the crap you intended to float out to sea on this raft and not recycle it but simply remove it from the environment. Any gasification fueled power plant would do nicely.
  7. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    JamesG Junior Member

    What would happen if the plastic was not in the sun? I would like to cover the island with dirt and plants. If the bottles are not in the sun wouldn't photo degradation and toxin accumulation slow to a halt?
  8. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    most of the binders of the plastics molecules are not very stable but instead are soluble at room temp in water, even more so in sea water at varying temps. I have several friends who specifically study this issue and there is simply no way to sequester the toxins held within complex plastics. Sun or no this idea does far more to contribute to the pollution problem, the effort would be far better spent properly incinerating these plastic components. Sorry Im sure you meant well but the only viable solution to the plastics issue is to gradually eliminate plastics from production and force a plastics settlement on the manufacturers of plastics components; one which forces them to clean up the mess they have foisted on our planet in the name of profit.
  9. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member


    For that suit of yours, it takes about 72, two liter plastic bottles to make a

    three piece polyester suit!!!

  10. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Good point Wellmer - I think it would be well worth doing. It took a long time to recognize the value of land based waste, so maybe sea based waste is overdue for a process.
  11. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Sorry Boston, NO.

    Incineration is the worst way to get rid of it, due to heavy pollution (Furane, Dioxine).
    Depolymerisation is the way to go. Optimal is a pressureless, catalytic depo. treatment. The result is a medium destillate, similar to pure Diesel with a high cetan #.
    In simple terms, thats just the backward process of making plastic from mineral oil.
    But the plant you need costs around 5mio US$. The industry does´nt like the system too much (guess why?), so, I built only two of them by so far.
    But it is a sensible, and profitable treatment, when the input material is for free.

  12. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    The only real solution is to keep this horse in the barn.

    Eventually........ this is how the problem will be addressed and may birds killed with this one stone.
  13. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    wellmer New Member

    Hello James, i think the core problem you face is not technology it is not even the "legal problems" - there should be only few laws on that - what you have to fear in such a project is administration and perception.

    You need to steer the project free of the "trash pile" perception, in california you can not do what you can do in mexico. (plastic bottles) - you need to concentrate on TRANSFORM the plastic - instead of accumulate plastic bottles which gets you entangled in "trash pile" legislation, administration and "show stopping" of all kind.

    A floating island big enough to build a house on it, already exists, it is called a barge - authorities will not have a big problem to register another "barge" it should be easy. The difficult part is to get registered as a barge if you are percieved as a "bottle island", it should be manageable to get a register as a "barge" for a floating "island" based on "reasonable looking plastic float elements", made out of bottles ( that have disappeard due to transforming them). So if you insist in bottles - yes but in mexico - if you stay in california - transform, avoid trash perception.

    I would build a project in california on the base that it is much easier, cost efficient, and quick, to transform plastic bottles, than transform minds and perceptions.

    To keep anybody in "comfort zone" is KEY if you have a unusual project. I assume the idea of millions of plastic bottles set free in a storm will push out of "comfort zone" almost everybody, from harbor captain, to tourism, ambientalists, etc... the art of pulling off unusual projects is most of all doing the best to maximize your support base, and minimize friction areas.

  14. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    JamesG Junior Member

    That seems like the best advice I've heard so far.

    The statement of transforming the minds of people vs. transforming the bottles seems especially true. Transforming the bottles is definitely easier.

    As I was reading that i got the image of 2'X2' plastic cubes that interlock. It could be designed to be both flotation and topside surface in one. As a whole the island would be a flexible platform of hinging tiles or cubes.

    I'm going to to spend some time thinking about this whole perception thing. It does seem like people will be worried about the bottles getting loose.

    If i could get the bottles only from beach cleanups and from rivers then it might be socially acceptable, but i don't think i could get enough bottles this way. Realistically, i would need to get bottles that are on their way to the landfill. I'm doing a good thing by getting them out of the landfill and putting them to use, BUT if they weren't in the water originally then i think people might have a problem with this. Basically trash from water being used for the island would be ok. Trash from land for the island would not be ok UNLESS I transform it as you said. That might be the key.

    I'm gonna give this some thought.

    Thanks Wellmer!

  15. peter radclyffe
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    is it practical to have a floating plastics factory in the garbage dump, to convert the trash to giant lego bricks which can then be used to house plastic people
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