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The trash-collecting Aquapod protects ocean from toxic plastics

Published 20 Mar 2023 (updated 31 May 2024) · 3 min read

Quick information

At a glance

  • Modular floating jetty collects and stores marine plastic
  • Prevents inflow of plastic waste to the open ocean
  • Reduces environmental impact of plastics while beautifying shorelines

The Aquapod collects and stores marine plastic waste near quaysides, preventing the inflow of harmful plastic to the open ocean. “Our goal is to create clean water zones near the shore,” says Per Elvestuen, co-founder and CEO of Clean Sea Solutions. “It’s exciting to know our technologies will have a significant impact on a global problem and that we are part of the solution.”

Marine pollution is the fastest growing environmental problem in the world, according to the UN. Approximately 10 to 20 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year, equivalent to a truckload each minute. Up to 94 per cent of the plastic waste entering the ocean sinks to the seabed, breaking down into toxic microplastics that threaten marine life. This is why it is crucial to prevent the inflow of plastic waste from coastal waters before it reaches the open ocean.

The modular floating Aquapod removes plastic waste from waterfronts

The Aquapod is a modular floating jetty with an integrated system for collecting and storing marine plastic waste. The jetty contains a high-quality pump that creates a waterfall inside the system, attracting plastic waste from waterfront areas and trapping it for storage and removal.

The Aquapod system has a large storage capacity, up to 700–800 litres of plastic waste. It can be connected to the 4G network for continuous monitoring, webcams and SMS alerts when the internal collection unit needs to be emptied. The unit has a unique closing system that prevents waste from leaking out if the system is switched off or a power failure occurs.

The Aquapod is especially suitable for marinas, docks, piers, kayak jetties and the like. It can also be equipped with sensors for data collection according to customer needs.

Less marine plastic waste means fewer greenhouse gas emissions

The Aquapod promotes a healthier marine environment by stopping plastic waste from reaching the open ocean.

“Less plastic pollution mitigates the problem of seabirds, fish, whales and turtles mistaking plastic items for prey. It also reduces the amount of toxic microplastics that accumulate in the food chain and cause developmental, reproductive and neurological problems in humans and wildlife,” says Elvestuen.

The Aquapod also reduces greenhouse gases from plastic pollution, as polyethylene emits both methane and ethylene gas when exposed to UV radiation. Moreover, the floating jetty performs well in harsh weather conditions.

The Aquapod also enhances the aesthetic value of tourist destinations and beaches by keeping the coastal waters free of unsightly waste.

People looking at prototype of solution
Lead design for the Aquapod, Carl Engelstad of PG Flow Solutions, showcasing the first prototype at Asker Marina, September 2020.

Customers gain a competitive advantage

In Western countries, marine waste management is becoming an integral part of national, regional and development policy. Demand for automated waste collection is growing, particularly in the Mediterranean region where significant resources have been allocated to France, Spain and Italy through the Mediterranean Action Plan. The market is expected to increase to 10.2 per cent by 2024, compared to 8 per cent in 2018.

First piloted in August 2020 in Norway, the Aquapod continues to undergo testing with good results in terms of capacity and operational reliability. The Aquapod will be ready for a full market launch in 2022 with a focus on cities and municipalities, harbours, marinas, hotels and waterfront urban developers in the Mediterranean region.

“The clean water zones we create will enhance the customer’s environmental profile and give them a competitive advantage by showing they take the marine waste problem seriously. We are convinced this will generate more revenue for our customers because they will become preferred actors in the marketplace,” says Elvestuen.

Clean Sea Solutions also delivers a complementary solution called the Cleaning Drone, an all-electric, autonomous drone that collects plastic waste in waterfront areas. Like the Aquapod, the Cleaning Drone can stand alone or be part of a more comprehensive clean water zone solution.

The Aquapod has been developed in collaboration with PG Flow Solutions.

Catharina Frostad


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