The Ocean Cleanup expands its family of solutions to help rid our oceans of plastic by introducing the Interceptor Barrier & the Interceptor Tender.
The Ocean Cleanup expands its family of solutions to rid our oceans of plastic
The Ocean Cleanup, a Netherlands-based non-profit organisation developing and scaling technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, introduces two new additions to the Interceptor family of technologies: the Interceptor Barrier and the Interceptor Tender. The Interceptor Barrier can be used to halt debris at the mouth of small rivers canals, while the Interceptor Tender is a small, powered barge that uses a conveyor belt to scoop up the trash trapped by the barriers. An advantage of having a mobile extraction and offloading unit is that it can serve several barrier locations.
almost 80% of plastic emissions into the oceans come from 1000 rivers
The Ocean Cleanup is on a mission is to rid the oceans of plastic In addition to cleaning up legacy pollution in the oceans, their mission requires them to eliminate the flow of plastic that continues to enter oceans every day. Rivers are the main pathway through which plastic enters the oceans. The non-profit’s 2021 paper in Science Advances shows that almost 80% of plastic emissions into the oceans come from 1000 rivers.
They say extracting plastic in these 1000 rivers is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to close the tap. By stopping plastic pollution in rivers today, we can halt the exponential growth of plastic pollution in the oceans. Simultaneously, it buys the world time to develop long-term solutions, such as improved waste management infrastructure and replacing plastics with eco-friendly materials.
To tackle plastic debris within the heaviest-polluting rivers of the world, The Ocean Cleanup developed the Interceptor (pictured below). A solar-powered and automated device, an Interceptor anchors in the mouth of a river. There, it catches and extracts floating plastic before it can enter the ocean.
A system DESIGNED TO SCALE
Considering the large number of rivers that need to be cleaned in order for The Ocean Cleanup to achieve their goals, a key design feature of the Interceptor is its scalability: The Interceptor is designed for series production.
In December 2020, the non-profit contracted with Konecranes to produce a large number of Interceptors in years to come. As of December 2021, the firm has delivered two 3rd generation Interceptors, with two more platforms slated for completion by early 2022. Additional Interceptors will be manufactured as deployment needs increase over time. Continued below…
A smaller interceptor solution was needed… so they designed one
The Ocean Cleanup has consciously aimed to make the Interceptor suitable for a wide array of rivers. Every river is different; factors like river width, depth, flow speed, debris composition, seasonality, and tides all massively influence the success of a river intervention.
For example, the man-made canal in Jakarta, where Interceptor 001 is active, differs from the wide natural river where they deployed Interceptor 004. That river, the Rio Ozama, does not experience tides, which is again very different from the Klang River (Interceptor 002), where a tidal difference of up to five meters can occur. If they had approached each river with a dedicated technical solution, any scale-up would take way too much time. Therefore, they designed the Interceptor like a product; suitable for many rivers around the world.
However, based on their understanding of the 1000 most polluting rivers, they also realised that a single solution would not be sufficient to handle all conditions they will face during scale-up. Hence, they are developing a family of Interceptor Solutions. Imagine it as a toolkit: whenever they start to investigate a problem river, now they can first ask themselves: “Given the specific set of circumstances in this river, what is the best type of Interceptor solution to address the problem here?”
The Ocean Cleanup estimate that 30% of rivers in their top 1000 target list are either too shallow or too narrow to allow deployment of an Original Interceptor. They encountered this situation when they first started work in Kingston, Jamaica. There, 11 small streams (drainage canals, locally known as gullies) together emit an estimated 947,000 kg of plastic into the Caribbean Sea every year. Most, if not all, of these gullies, turn out to be too small for an Original Interceptor. Continued below…
INTRODUCING: INTERCEPTOR BARRIER & INTERCEPTOR TENDER
To tackle small and heavily polluting rivers, such as those found in Jamaica, The Ocean Cleanup has added two new tools to their toolkit: the Interceptor Barrier and the Interceptor Tender.
The Interceptor Barrier can be used to halt debris at the mouth of a small river or canal. It consists of a standalone floating barrier that, once anchored on each side, forms a U-shape. Debris floats down the waterway until it reaches the barrier, which then holds it in place until operators can remove it. The Interceptor Barrier design builds on the experience from our existing efforts to concentrate floating debris towards the mouth of an Original Interceptor.
The Interceptor Barrier is paired with the new extraction device, the Interceptor Tender. Developed in collaboration with Berky GmbH, the Interceptor Tender is a small, powered barge that uses a conveyor belt to scoop up the trash trapped by the Interceptor Barrier. The Interceptor Tender can move between barrier sites to collect, then offload, debris into an onshore dumpster.
An advantage of having a mobile extraction and offloading unit is that it can serve several barrier locations. At future deployments in Jamaica, as well as other destinations, they say they expect to see multiple Interceptor Barriers located near one another. This way, extraction, and offloading equipment costs are shared over multiple Interceptor deployments.
DONATE TO THE OCEAN CLEANUP
With your support we can rid the oceans of plastic. We aim to clean up 90% of the floating ocean plastic pollution. With the support of individuals, corporations, and governments all over the world, we will work towards a future where plastic no longer pollutes our oceans. We are currently testing our ocean cleanup technology in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as well as working on more river Interceptor deployments, aiming to have 15 interceptors in place by end of 2022. Click to donate and other ways to help.