It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Time for Plastic Dumping "Ocean Credits"?

page: 1
7

log in

join
share:

posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 02:33 PM
link   
Say 1000 grams of plastic is produced (of all plastics, for all uses) how many grams (on average) find their way into the world’s ocean over say over the next 100 years?

We need to know (and perhaps overestimate to be safer, rather than sorry) because the worlds Oceans are already filling up, with plastics Fast.

Knowing this would help enable legislation to (rightfully) demand that the plastics industry sponsors the removal its ocean plastic. And since natural currents have been “good enough” to “contain” ocean plastic in such places as "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" collecting this plastic with nets wouldn’t be exactly hard.
en.wikipedia.org...
Especially since its now twice the size of France: www.telegraph.co.uk...

Solar Recycling Plastic...
In order to make the process cheaper (by increasing transported plastics density, reducing boats trips, and doing some valuable recycling work) I propose the Collecting Boats transport plastic to a floating “island” (i.e. just a very large, cheap old boat, or possibly a purpose built structure made from floating concrete).
Here…

1. Plastic would be chopped up
2. Transported by conveyor (through a flap valve) into Horizontal copper pipes (where the flap valve just limits oxygen, inside the steel pipe, in order to prevent its combustion)
3. Copper pipe runs through something called a Parabolic Reflector …
en.wikipedia.org...
The trough version is cheaper, but doesn’t produce such intense heat
en.wikipedia.org...
This is the cheapest, and most (directly) efficient version of solar energy, as is simply a mirror, designed to reflect sunlight so that temperatures (potentially) capable of melting steel-copper can be reached (obviously that potential can be moderated by considering e.g. the individual reflector's size (or just use shading, for heat moderation).

4. Molten plastic gravitates out the copper pipe, so this can then be poured into e.g. 1 Meter cubic, blocks. Some plastic (i.e. the non-recyclable Thermal setting plastic) won’t be molten (or if it is, it would also be chemically destroyed). However it will still be compacted by the plastics that do melt. Alternatively a metal grid could separate it, so it could refined-incinerated onsite.
5. Anyway: Some solid, recycled plastic blocks, can now be densely transported back to land for further refinement-direct use.
6. A small portion of the heat produced from the parabolic troughs would be used to power the chopping machine, plus conveyor belts ect. It may not be necessary to use a normal steam generator, as a "Thermal Couple" could turn out to be more cost effective (even though its efficiency is very low, the energy source (light) is obviously free!).

So what I put forward to you is not really a demand that plastics industries loose lots of money through garbage their collection, but rather they subsidise (i.e. kick-start) a potentially very useful industry.

PS: Solar energy over the pacific garbage patch makes sense because A: The pacific is very sunny, and B (unlike normal electricity production) it doesn’t really matter, if plastic processing only happens during the day.

Why Plastic Collection is Vital…
Not only is this plastic killing millions of birds-animals that mistake it for food (with the result it usually stays inside them, causing them to starve to death) but UV light is causing it to break down into ever smaller particles. This particles are turning up inside microscopic orgasms…
news.nationalgeographic.com...
And as only very old plastic is decaying, scientists are unsure what the results will be (other than very bad, as these organisms often form the base of the ocean food chain).
When you think “Ocean plastic” think lead-asbestos times 1000. As it is well known that the Oceans Phytoplankton produces half the worlds oxygen supply
news.nationalgeographic.com...
Unfortunately (despite more CO2 & nitrates in the worlds oceans, than ever) these single celled creatures have declined by 40% over the last 60 years.
www.aboutmyplanet.com...
www.bbc.co.uk...
Scientists are blaming sea temperature rises. But the world has been hotter in the distant past, when oxygen levels were even higher!
So I just wonder if another reason could be because single celled organisms are hardly going to react “well” with lumps of plastic accumulating, inside their own microscopic structures. When it kills them the plastic will do what its been doing to birds (i.e. float off and find some other, poor unfortunate, creature).

Apparently there is 6 times more plastic, in a seawater sample, than phytoplankton!!!
www.acfnewsource.org...
www.greenchange.org...
The last link states plastic in Ocean has increased 10 fold, each decade, since 1945. Maybe that’s an exaggeration? But it won’t remain like that, with evermore 3rd world people, meeting their aspirations to catch up with Western civilisation.

So Perhaps Ocean Plastic Can Prove More Deadly than manmade CO2 Climate Change? (Easy to believe in my mind, as I’m sceptical how serious manmade climate change is, given CO2 only makes up only 0.034% of the atmosphere)

In 2009, the CO2 global average concentration in Earth's atmosphere was about 0.0387% by volume

en.wikipedia.org...'s_atmosphere#Current_concentration
CO2 only contributes 0.28% to climate change www.geocraft.com...
And only 25% comes from electricity (the biggest human source). www.technologyreview.com...

Anyway: Back On Topic: How much would you pay to know your plastics are offset against what’s already in the Ocean? E.g. 2,3 times as much?
And did “my solar” recycling approach seem viable to you?




posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 06:15 PM
link   
reply to post by Liberal1984
 
I had no idea that thing was twice as big as France! Thanks for posting this thread and educating me.

Though most of it is sad, one thing about that article is funny to me. The article says the plastic pellets are referred to as "nurdles" but I never heard them referred to by that term, we called them pellets. One site I worked at did have an employee awareness training session about the pellets, which are unloaded from railcars into storage silos and sometimes a little spillage occurs and pellets end up on the ground. As long as the employees get a shop-vac or broom and dustpan and clean up all the pellets before the next rain, the spillage doesn't impact the environment. If they don't clean it up right away, the next time it rains, the rainwater can end up sending those pellets eventually into the ocean.

My idea would be to put some kind of surcharge tax on, say, bottled water, maybe a penny or two a bottle, or more if that's what it takes. I'm not sure if it's better to collect the tax from the manufacturers or the consumers. It's easier to collect from the manufacturers because there are fewer, however, collecting from consumers may generate more consumer awareness and perhaps concern about where all those bottles end up.

Your ideas on the floating island to process the plastics are impressive, I like the way you think. There are some aspects which may not be practical but the idea is stunningly good if we could figure out how to pull it off (and fund the effort with that 2 cents a bottle tax).

Here are some considerations, obstacles to overcome in your ideas:
1. Plastic when melted doesn't always flow easily. It can be a sticky gooey mess that doesn't flow too well.
2. There will be a mix of different plastic materials which have different melting temperatures. We would need to decide if we want to use that to try to separate out the types of plastic somehow or if we want to try to force all the different plastic types into the same homogeneous blend.
3. Having the plastic flow out by gravity after melting it may not work too well. Most plastics operations (there are exceptions but I'm not sure they will work in this case) feed the pellets into long hollow cylinders with a piston inside, and use the piston to FORCE the plastic out into whatever process they are using, such as injection molding or blow molding. How you'd get the plastic to move where you want it to go without the use of some piston driven cylinders pushing it out is something I'd have to think about, I'm not sure if it's possible or practical.
4. You need to decide if the floating factory will make finished products or plastics for further processing. If further processing is the idea, the one meter blocks are too impractical to be used at the destination if they are solid plastic. Nobody would have the infrastructure to utilize them. What you could do is set up a floating version of the same equipment that's used at plastics recycling plants, which is the piston and cylinder arrangement I mentioned earlier. Here is what the equipment looks like:

Plastics waste recycling and pelletizing machine

That's the technology already developed for dealing with plastic waste for recycling purposes. You basically squeeze out a long strand of spaghetti-like shape from the end and then chop it up into the "pellets" just like the original pellets except these are from recycled plastics. But the seawater would contaminate the pellets and cause the equipment to corrode rapidly, the plastics would need to be washed and rinsed with fresh water before processing. I thought of making the equipment of stainless steel but the problem with that is, the recycled pellets would still have salt in them so you still need to rinse the salt out first somehow.

5 Once the recycled pellets are collected on containers (which are about the size you mentioned by the way, about 1 meter cubed) they can be shipped to shore for use by manufacturers selling recycled products, like these folks:

Recycled Plastic Railroad Ties

recycled plastic lumber
I was house shopping a while back and one house I saw had a deck made from recycled plastic lumber. It looked good and might even be lower maintenance and longer life than a wood deck.

The recycled lumber could be used to make pallets from plastic lumber and some other things. I'm not sure if it's suitable for any construction in the rest of the house other than the deck, it may be too costly to be competitive. But it makes sense on the deck due to the maintenance issue.

I see your solution tried to avoid external energy sources, quite creative! Maybe there's a way to do it but the only way I can think of is to put up many many solar panels and then generate electricity with them to power the equipment. The fact that melted plastic doesn't flow too well impedes a gravity-based solution.

Floating concrete as the foundation for the floating factory, that's an interesting concept, I wonder if it can be done!?

Then of course, you need labor to maintain even automated equipment. So if the floating factory is in a god-forsaken location in the pacific, where will the workers live, sleep, eat, find recreation, etc. So you need some housing on the floating island too, and supply boats to bring them food. What about waste processing, etc? It gets a little complicated. It might be like working on a drilling rig like I used to do, where you work 2 weeks and then get 1 week off or something. In fact think in terms of the floating drilling rigs like the Deepwater Horizon that caused the spill in the gulf of Mexico, maybe a larger version of that type of operation but set up to make recycled plastic instead of setup for deepwater drilling.

You'd also need to set up a solar-powered desalinization plant to make the fresh water to rinse the salt off the plastic extracted from the ocean.

Anyway thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, you are a very creative thinker and I appreciate that! It sure would be nice to clean up this mess we made. I hope you find my thoughts as helpful as I found yours inspiring!

edit on 10-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 09:21 PM
link   
""demand that the plastics industry sponsors the removal its ocean plastic.""

The US Navy is still throwing it's trash into the oceans when it's a few miles off the coasts.

Why should the plastic industry fund a problem they didn't cause? They didn't throw it in the ocean.

It was done for National Security.

Poor countries can be forced to quit throwing plastic trash all over by merely raising the price of crude oil to $200 a barrel. Plastic would cease to be within their buying power.



posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 09:27 PM
link   
It's a sad sad situation indeed and it's one of those things that feels so massive and out of my control that I don't have a single clue about what could be done to stop it.

I spent quite a few years working for a charity that monitored Sea Turtle populations in the Mediterranean Sea and they do indeed die very often from eating plastic bags that they mistake for being Jelly Fish.
There is nothing more heartbreaking then having to bury a 80 year old turtle that is stuffed full of plastic bags



posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 09:58 PM
link   
Thank you very much for your constructive comments Arbitrageur. I have tried to find decent solutions, for every problem.

Originally posted by Arbitrageur

1. Plastic when melted doesn't always flow easily. It can be a sticky gooey mess that doesn't flow too well

This could be solved by cutting the raw plastic into even smaller chunks, then attempting to heat them (as I described with solar) but this time crushing them in some sort of piston, immediately on exit (like you recommend).
If that piston-crusher has exit holes, and providing the plastic is cut up, slightly smaller (than however big these exit holes are) then the plastic should remain crushed (into dence, transportable blocks)
PS: This could be better than attempting to melt all the plastic anyway, as the onboard energy consumption of cutting, will be lots lower than melting (especially if rubbish could be slightly preheated, before cutting).


2. There will be a mix of different plastic materials which have different melting temperatures. We would need to decide if we want to use that to try to separate out the types of plastic somehow or if we want to try to force all the different plastic types into the same homogeneous blend.


I would forget it, as it can easily be better done on land (say also with some solar) but this time where space-staff is more easily abundant. The plastic will have e.g. sandy creatures in it, and a lot may only be suitable for incineration, electricity purposes (which can still be lots better than using an alternative, such as coal).

However certain plastic melt at very low temperatures, and if they are almost consistently surplus to “stickiness” requirements (i.e. to make transportable blocks), then there is obviously the temptation to separate them on the boat (although for all I know, land could still turn out, to be a cheaper place).


3. Having the plastic flow out by gravity after melting it may not work too well. Most plastics operations (there are exceptions but I'm not sure they will work in this case) feed the pellets into long hollow cylinders with a piston inside, and use the piston to FORCE the plastic out into whatever process they are using, such as injection molding or blow molding. How you'd get the plastic to move where you want it to go without the use of some piston driven cylinders pushing it out is something I'd have to think about, I'm not sure if it's possible or practical.


I can really see what you mean. If it gets stuck falling down, the vertical, solar heated pipe, then the best-cheapest way to push it might be to periodically pump pressure above it, and have an absence below.
If air is compressed, one might want to remove oxygen from this gas (to prevent any fire) inside the solar heat exchange! However such a fire may not matter given both the amount of air supplied (and therefore fire possible) would be quite small.
If it is a problem then either use e.g. steam to create pressure (cheap but quickly condenses, although surely not too quickly inside a solar heated pipe?) or (alternatively) just compress the exhaust from some (controlled) plastic incineration (going on elsewhere, onboard) (primarily for this oxygen removal purpose, but most probably also creating onboard electric, as a by-product too).


4. You need to decide if the floating factory will make finished products or plastics for further processing. If further processing is the idea, the one meter blocks are too impractical to be used at the destination if they are solid plastic. Nobody would have the infrastructure to utilize them. What you could do is set up a floating version of the same equipment that's used at plastics recycling plants, which is the piston and cylinder arrangement I mentioned earlier. Here is what the equipment looks like:


(As said) I would not recommend the floating factory be anything other than a crushing-melting centre. Otherwise (if you start making products) they will take up about as much boat space as the rubbish, but in this factory (like you say) there is e.g. nowhere to put a staff car park!!!)
BUT: The plastic blocks will certainly have uses (even if they are full of sand-dead sea life!). Personally I would just incinerate them BUT I would use some of the incineration heat to melt (possibly vaporise) the incoming plastic. This melting, followed by (possible) vaporisation (although that requires more energy) could separate the different plastic by melting-boiling point.
However the process would not be overly refined (in order to create the hot waste, needed to power the melting processes). Of course this waste (being the last of a plastic batch) would always be the most contaminated with seaweed & sand (and so least good for recycling anyway). Given fuel is needed, I doubt much (if any) plastic should be vaporised at all.

Green Politics…

I'm not sure if it's better to collect the tax from the manufacturers or the consumers. It's easier to collect from the manufacturers because there are fewer, however, collecting from consumers may generate more consumer awareness and perhaps concern about where all those bottles end up.


If you tax manufactures, they have to pass on the cost to consumers anyway. And it’s hardly useful if consumers associate “the green movement” with more expensive goods. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss!

Overall I believe there is no (good) reason why we couldn’t have More heavy industry, even Higher consumption of goods, and a Well respected environment.
Currently we only seem to have reasons: i.e. Bad engineering, Tolerated by inadequate government policies. Government needn’t do much to encourage green technology apart from making cheap loans (yet still profitable) available, and give “tax breaks” to industries-enterprise that don’t yet exist (as it will cost nothing, but encourage everything).

Also only a “strong” economy can (in reality) deal quickly, with the costs of being green. So rather than people feel guilty about plastic, I want people to consume even more (but this time in knowledge, every kilo purchased, helped neutralise mankind’s environmental sins (both past & present).

Anyway thanks for your reply, and thanks for your time. I really need constructive criticisms (no matter how much I intend to demolish them!)
edit on 090705 by Liberal1984 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 11:40 PM
link   

Originally posted by Liberal1984
Thank you very much for your constructive comments Arbitrageur. I have tried to find decent solutions, for every problem.
I'm glad you realize I'm not trying to knock your ideas down, but rather support them by offering alternatives which might work better.


Originally posted by Arbitrageur

1. Plastic when melted doesn't always flow easily. It can be a sticky gooey mess that doesn't flow too well

This could be solved by cutting the raw plastic into even smaller chunks, then attempting to heat them (as I described with solar) but this time crushing them in some sort of piston, immediately on exit (like you recommend).
The flow will be so poor for most classes of plastics, it WON'T EXIT the heated pipe in the parabolic reflector, or it will take forever and a day to do it like molasses in January. So saying what we'll do to it after it exits doesn't solve the problem that it won't exit fast enough to be practical. Or else I don't understand what you're saying...exit from what? what will make it exit?

Look at this video at the 9 second mark, you see a round piece of red melted plastic hanging off the machine, and it hardly moves at all (until the machine applies pressure to start squeezing it out again)! This is about the flow rate I expect from just gravity!



Actually there is a little stretch from gravity in that process, but not much, most of the movement is caused by squeezing the plastic out of the machine. That machine has to FORCE the plastic out to make it go down into the mold, so when you see it start moving down, it's not falling much, it's mostly being squeezed out under high pressure.

Here's a video showing the components I described, what I called the cylinder is typically called the BARREL and what I called the piston is typically called the SCREW. Here's a video of how that setup works. The piston, or screw turns to melt the plastic.



Here's another animation showing how the plastic is squeezed out, where you see the piston/screw start to move just after the 5 second mark:



It takes a lot of pressure to squeeze the plastic out of these machines, even after it's melted.

This is a real plastic recycling machine.



They show a good view of the hopper where the plastic goes in, and they show where it comes out in long strands. What happens in between is the screw and barrel thing, the rotation of the screw forces the plastic out under high pressure into those skinny strands. I think that's what you'd need even if you want to incinerate the plastic because a huge solid block of plastic will only get oxygen to the outer surface. You need a lot more surface area, like these strands, to burn efficiently. But in that application, those strands are probably chopped into pellets by a rotating knife blade that they don't show, and the pellets can be used by most manufacturers, as long as they aren't too contaminated.

Here's another plastic recycling machine. The screw/barrel is under the blue cover.



For most of the video they are stuffing in plastic to fill up the barrel. Only at the very end can you see it being squeezed out. See how gravity barely stretches it at all? Almost all the motion you see is from the screw turning and forcing it out under pressure.

Plastics has some unique properties and I think you need to observe how it's dealt with in everyday applications to better understand its properties and how you might deal with in in your proposed application. So that's why I shared these videos with you, so you can see plastic in action. It's harder to work with than you're giving it credit for.


(As said) I would not recommend the floating factory be anything other than a crushing-melting centre. Otherwise (if you start making products) they will take up about as much boat space as the rubbish, but in this factory (like you say) there is e.g. nowhere to put a staff car park!!!)
That depends on the product, right? If it made railroad ties, they wouldn't take up any more space than anything else, would they? They are just solid plastic in a different shape. Same thing with plastic lumber except the edges might be slightly rounded.

I hope these get you thinking. Cheers my friend!
edit on 10-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: fix typo



posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 01:06 AM
link   
First before punishing the US plastic industry lets find out where this plastic is really coming from.

China still takes ship loads of trash out to sea to dump.
In many areas of Mexico and other central American countries trash is routinely dumped in streams, rivers and dry washes where the next large storm sends it straight to the ocean.

The Enviro Nazis know most of this plastic does not come from the US or Canada but will distort it to there advantage just to wreak manufacturing on the US.
Most of the drainage in the US goes to the gulf of Mexico.
there is little plastic found in the gulf that can be tracked to the US.
Most of the plastic in the pacific that has names or labels are in foreign languages and all most none has made in the US stamped on it.

One very common plastic idem found in the pacific garbage patch is disposable lighters.
Yet none are made in the US and none are marked as to the country they were sold in.



posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 01:55 AM
link   

Originally posted by ANNED
Most of the plastic in the pacific that has names or labels are in foreign languages and all most none has made in the US stamped on it.

One very common plastic idem found in the pacific garbage patch is disposable lighters.
Yet none are made in the US and none are marked as to the country they were sold in.
Interesting!

What's your source? Got a link? I'd like to read more about that.

Someone just got through accusing the US Navy so I'm seeing different claims and just trying to get the facts. I'd really like to know where it's all coming from. I doubt any one country is to blame, so maybe cleaning it up should be an international effort.



posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 11:56 AM
link   
Hay Arbitrageur I think I’ve now plugged every gap…

First; A Fool Proof Version…
1. Fish plastic out of sea
2. Lift onto a big old boat (housing the Pacific, processing equipment).
3. Cut rubbish up onboard. Then conveyer belt into a…
4. Compacter (e.g. using a hydraulically pushed, crusher)
5. Plastic exits compressed crusher end, through a pipe
6. Pipe moves broken-crushed plastic pieces onto boats for land transport. These are then incinerated, making electricity (But where some heat from the incineration process is used to melt-boil incoming plastic). So still recycling, quite a bit.

Why…
As no plastic is heated, the only job of the (now relatively few) solar reflectors will be to provide electricity to power the: Lift, Crusher and small Conveyor Belt ect.

However if onboard melting is used to (fully) maximise plastic density…
1. Solar reflectors should only heat “a high boiling point liquid”. I know Asphalt (used in felt roofs) has a boiling point of around 600C
Of course any boiling point can be further raised through pressurisation (although you would only want to do that slightly (so to avoid a thicker a Solar Heat Collecting Pipe) as apart from costing more, it would also slow down, heat transfer.

Asphalt also has a good thermal conductivity of 0.75 (verses waters 0.58) www.engineeringtoolbox.com...

And apparently plastics tend to melt at only around 300 Centigrade
wiki.answers.com...
So I really doubt any (significant volume of plastic) would exceed the 600C asphalt temperature.
2. Hot Asphalt is piped from the solar reflectors into “a plastic heating chamber” (i.e. a rectangular, Asphalt pipe, heated, box, who’s floor slowly “conveyer belts” towards the crusher). (A conveyer “chain belt” floor should be best, as chains are obviously heat resistant).
3. The now 300 Centigrade (plus), sticky, and hydraulically compressed plastic could leave the crusher and be either: directly transferred into boat.
Or it leaves through an injection mould (creating incineration sized “fire bricks”). These bricks could quickly (& cheaply) cooled by spraying sea water (straight from ocean). I.e. as they made their way along a conveyer belt, towards the Plastic Transport Boats).

Reasons…
This different approach (to making dense, onboard plastic) is even more energy efficient than what I said before (as asphalt is denser, and better at absorbing heat, than chopped up plastic). Less conveyer belts are required (as little need to lift plastic up high). And there is no way it will jam (because plastic is only heated, inside a small confined space (where a single hydraulic compressor, will force it to move as ordered!!).

Staff…
1. Both Hawaii and Japan sit by major trash vortex’s (Japan seems to get more passing directly through) and Alaska has similar islands too.
www.greenpeace.org...
2. Many green activists would probably be willing to work (almost) for free, to remove hundreds of plastic tonnes, from the world’s oceans.
3. The most labour intensive aspects will be plastic fishing. But being in international waters will mean 3rd world people could be justifiably employed as “fishermen”.
4. The artificial processing island (I really think an old commercial-military boat would do) could have staffing facilities. These boats are often a disposal liability, and so aren’t to expensive (depending on scrap value).
5. Staff may come & go, using same transportation boats, as the plastic.

So what do you think? Truly viable now?

PS Apart from fining people for dumping; plastic producers remain the easyist, money target. International efforts (have historically) sounded very good (until they don't happen, or only happen a fraction as expected!!). Of course if a country like e.g. China doesn't want to pay (fairly) for cleaning up its environment mess, then this is what Trade Tariffs are best for. And as the plastic is worth something, a little money should go a long way.
edit on 090705 by Liberal1984 because: Grammer



posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 12:27 PM
link   

Originally posted by Liberal1984
So what do you think? Truly viable now?
Well of course we'd have to do some trials to test and confirm that, and there's always some debugging on any new project, but the concept sounds much more viable to me than the first or second concept, so the third time was the charm!

Good job!

Edit to add: One more thought, incinerating IS feasible to generate electricity and might be the best option if it's too hard to separate plankton and seaweed, or if the plastic is too badly decomposed (though they claim it's not very decomposed).

However, if it's possible to clean the plastic well enough to use in the production of recycled plastic products like railroad ties for example, it would keep the carbon out of the atmosphere. Incinerating releases the carbon into the atmosphere and at least Al Gore thinks we need to cut back on that!

edit on 11-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: added comment



posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 10:47 PM
link   
Thanks Arbitrageur for your input. You should see where I got the idea to now….

Summary: I was thinking that (although it’s a lot less “beautiful” from an engineering point of view) it may be better if All energy required to process plastic (for transport) was simply supplied by a onboard incinerator?

As: Ultimately fossil fuel, still = vast, stable, energy 24/7.
Solar is expensive (e.g maintaining mirrors against sea-spray) and obviously garbage costs virtually nothing.
And because nobody (right now) is collecting-destroying this incredibly dangerous trash, anything that can make its destruction more cost effective, must win out.

In addition some onboard, solar, could still assist onboard, electricity production (thereby reducing fuel consumption) (so directly leaving more plastic- for recycling!).
Both approach’s are less wasteful, than a nearby alternative (i.e. simply to collect ocean trash & incinerate it) (without doing anything useful, with its heat!!)
But obviously even this is better, than the current situation, of doing precisely nothing.

Furthermore…
I liked the idea of using sails, to transport plastic, back to land. It could work well as the garbage transportation boats, needn't carry a cargo, meriting a particulary tight schedule.
This because: Whenever plastic does arrive, it will be in big loads (since pounds for garbage tonnes) becomes the primary consideration. So a field (possibly with rain shielding tent) outside the PowerStation, is all that’s required, for a stable fuel supply.

BUT: Because simply removing rubbish from water is the primary objective, and because “pounds for garbage tonnes” is the investment formula, that could make this idea a reality, it may be better to employ fossil fuel energy (possibly assisted, by sails?).
And if (due to using much wind) the fossil fuel used, is used constantly-frequently, then the best source is some of its own garbage, cargo.
Unfortunately, onboard power generation, is only likely to be between 7.5 and 20% (the worlds most efficient steam locomotive is only about 14% efficient) (and coal power stations are generally just over 30%).

However given the fuel was toxic trash, and its now fished out of the ocean (for next to nothing) then all that truly matters is that instead of polluting the sea, the trash does something useful, once again.

As For “Plastic Fishing Boats”: These could more easily use renewable fuel exclusively i.e. wind, solar or both (especially as they won’t be very far away, from their processing-transport destiny, anyway).
However using an onboard incinerator-steam engine has Big advantages…
1. Increases boat speed, will therefore increases collection rate (and so improve boat, investment return).
2. Causes boat to remove more deadly trash out of water, before spending time to its returning to transfer point
3. This plastic is the cheapest of them all, as really is plucked straight from water
Everybody likes the idea of recycling plastic from the water. But getting as much as possible, out of the water, is what’s truly, most important.
edit on 090705 by Liberal1984 because: Words



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:23 AM
link   
It's a good thing to see actual environment related topics rather than certain social engineering programs get some 'air time' around here


i agree that the trash should be fished out, but realistically, it's only a bandaid, the real solution is prevention.

from:

www.plasticdebris.org...


Nearly 80% of marine debris comes from land-based sources.(4) Most of the land-based debris is conveyed to oceans via urban runoff through storm drains. The main sources of plastic and other types of anthropogenic (human-made) debris in urban runoff include: litter (mostly bags, packaging and single-use disposable products), industrial discharges, garbage transportation, landfills, construction debris, and debris from commercial establishments and public venues.


single-use items are always a problem, maybe a deposit based system could help in the developed countries, even though i doubt they account for much of the total volume, see f-ex.


news.xinhuanet.com...



BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Thick layers of garbage from continuous rain-triggered floods along the Yangtze River are threatening the safety of the Three Gorges Dam, a senior official has said.

"The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the miter gate of the Three Gorges Dam," Chen Lei, director of the key water project department under the China Three Gorges Corporation, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.


i seriously doubt they actually incinerate all the stuff, so, it'll likely end up in the ocean. On the flip side, this case highlights a way of extracting trash from major rivers, which could be implemented all while generating a little electricity as a side effect. such dams need not necessarily be very tall, but they should be located as close to the river's mouth as possible.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 12:00 PM
link   
Originally posted by Long Lance

i agree that the trash should be fished out, but realistically, it's only a bandaid, the real solution is prevention.


Prevention through better trash collection is obviously a lot better than chucking it in the sea (then trying to deploy proper trash disposal afterwards!) but guarding every coastline in the world isn't easy. Although large amounts could be detected by satellite, fining the country responsible will be the real "stumbling block".

However mankind has certainly fished areas greater than twice the size of France and probably does so, over several times, a year (otherwise so many fish wouldn’t be going extinct!). Also industry can certainly afford the "sponsorship" (given ocean plastic, is only be a tiny fraction of what it acturally produces).

But we need plastics because they are (usually) a damn good material.
For starters all alternatives have bad side effects (besides higher cost). E.g. you may think paper bags are a good idea, but the paper still needs to be produced from environmental-energy intensive processes, and if you overfill your paper bags (say in the hope of being “green”) and then break something, whatever you’ve just broken will be “worth” more pollution than dozens of plastic bags!
As for bottles, plastic is lighter to transport than glass, and much easier to melt-recycle. Most recycled glass doesn't get turned into bottles-glass products, but rather only road excavation, fill.

So beware of the green movement, as they are hardly in the habit of thinking through, thoroughly (apart from thinking how to create the political “guilt” & controversy, their destructive left wing, ideology demands!).
edit on 090705 by Liberal1984 because: ;



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 02:03 PM
link   

Originally posted by Liberal1984

Prevention through better trash collection is obviously a lot better than chucking it in the sea (then trying to deploy proper trash disposal afterwards!) but guarding every coastline in the world isn't easy. Although large amounts could be detected by satellite, fining the country responsible will be the real "stumbling block".


i don't know if the estimates are true, but if ~80% passed through rivers, then that should imho be the first priority, in terms of garbage collection. how to make any such measures a lucrative business (without fleecing the next best 'target group') is of course the real question.

i for one find it insane that fishing subsidies are still being paid, even though many species are approaching extinction, while these same funds (and ships + crews) could be used for the purpose of retrieving the junk.



new topics

top topics



 
7

log in

join