Innovation That Matters

The device uses hydrofoils to be pushed forward and surf across the water, collecting waste as it goes | Photo source The Ocean Parabolic Cleaner

Parabolic floating device to collect ocean plastic


The invention provides a potentially cost-effective solution to the plastic pollution in rivers and oceans

Spotted: A team of students at Monash University Malaysia have designed a parabolic floater to collect floating plastic debris on the surface of oceans and rivers. 

The Ocean Parabolic Cleaner works by pushing water currents to sail around, creating a different velocity to the current of the ocean or river and thus enabling the trapping of the plastic debris.

“The pollution of plastic waste in the ocean has gotten increasingly pressing every year. The world faces a major issue of collecting debris from the ocean,” said the team of students.

There are three pieces to the device. An upper part that aerodynamically fits so that it will be pressed down by the wind, decreasing its chance of toppling. The middle part has an opening towards the rear of the device to enable plastic to enter the trapping zone, with a high-density polyethylene net that helps capture microplastics.  The bottom part acts as a kneeboard to slow down its rotation and avoid losing all collected plastic debris due to random motion. 

The device also uses hydrofoils to be pushed forward and surf across the water, collecting waste as it goes. To enable effective trapping, there are also fringes that allow the device to travel slower than the ocean and debris.

The design was nominated for this year’s James Dyson Awards.  

Written By: Katrina Lane

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