Innovation That Matters

The Cloud of Sea looks a bit like a boat fender, and collects microplastics as the boat moves through the water | Photo source James Dyson Award

Device captures microplastics from water during sailing


The "Cloud of Sea" is designed to hook onto the boat using ropes and contains a rotating, helix-shaped internal filter

Spotted: We have been talking a lot about microplastics lately and for good reason. One study estimated there are 15 to 51 trillion particles of them floating on the surface of our oceans, and the particles have been found raining from the sky in otherwise pristine regions. In the ocean, they are eaten by fish and enter the food chain. Now, Italian product designer Matteo Brasili has developed a way for boat owners to remove the microplastics from the seas.

Dubbed “Cloud of Sea”, the device resembles the fenders used by yachts owners, to protect them from bumping into other boats. The Cloud of Sea is designed to hook onto the boat using ropes and contains a rotating, helix-shaped internal filter that captures microplastics from the water.  This filter is made of a semi-rigid membrane with holes that taper inwards, allowing micro-particles to enter, but not leave the filter.

Brasili was inspired in his design by a desire to create a solution to the problem of ocean-going microplastics that could be adaptable to all types of boats. Unlike fenders, which can cause drag on the ship if left out when sailing, the shape of the Cloud of Sea was designed to reduce the loss of energy to friction, so it could be left in the water while sailing.

The Cloud of Sea recently won a national Dyson Award. Brasili hopes to develop his project further and introduce it, “within the main port areas, so as to generate not only a new product to combat pollution of the sea, but also to encourage all people to help the environment and trigger a new system that helps both humankind and the marine world.”

At Springwise, we have seen a number of innovations aimed at reducing the number of microplastics that reach the water cycle. These have included a device that collects microplastics shed from car tyres and a filter that collects microplastics from clothes when they are washed.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

This innovation is brought to you by Plastic Odyssey, an expedition across 3 continents that will reach areas most affected by plastic pollution and develop local solutions. Click here to learn more.

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