Cutting-edge technology. And a simple solution.
Less than 10% of the 34.5 million tons of plastic produced in the United States is recycled.
When China closed its doors to the majority of US plastics in 2017 the overflow went to developing nations that didn’t have the proper infrastructure to deal with it. 90% of ocean plastics now flow into the sea from only 10 rivers – 8 in Asia and 2 in Africa.
The overflow of plastics in developing nations led to illegal open-burning, releasing dioxins and furans into the atmosphere – the most hazardous and unhealthy chemicals known to man.
Our goal is to prevent plastics and other trash from ever getting into the ocean, and to eliminate what’s there before it becomes irretrievable microplastics.
The technology on our ships breaks down the molecular hydrocarbon structure of plastics with a plasma arc chamber that reaches temperatures in excess of 900°c (1652°F). That heat breaks down hydrocarbons into a syngas mostly comprised of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The syngas is then scrubbed through the subsequent chambers until emissions register below current California EPA standards.
The end result is a glass-like material that’s completely inert, non-toxic, and safe for marine life and people.
Here’s how we’ll make this happen.
SeaChange will partner with existing ocean and beach cleanup organizations, and travel to trash collection sites. Once the trash is dry we can process up to 5 tons per day onsite, eliminating the carbon footprint and cost of shipping it back to a recycling center or landfill.
The first SeaChange ship is planned to be based in Port Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. Our proof of concept project will take place in the Indonesian archipelago in winter 2020/2021. Our team is currently identifying regional partners to collaborate with, including NGOs, individuals, and governments. After defining the most efficient plan to hit as many cleanup sites as possible, we’ll travel to coastal communities in developed and remote Indonesian islands where ecosystems and livelihoods are being destroyed by ocean pollution.