Inspired by a moment of observation, watching two men struggle to catch rubbish from their boat in Cape Town, Richard Hardiman envisioned a more efficient solution for water pollution cleanup. That’s when Ran Marine’s WasteShark was born. Drawing inspiration from the wide-mouthed whale shark, this autonomous robot has set sail to clean up London’s Canary Wharf, aiming to transform the area into a healthier and biodiverse environment.
Addressing Pollution Challenges
Canary Wharf, a thriving financial district along London’s River Thames, attracts a staggering number of visitors daily. Despite commendable efforts by the Canary Wharf Group to reduce single-use plastics, the high footfall often leads to litter finding its way into the water. Unfortunately, only a mere 14% of English rivers currently meet good ecological standards, largely due to pollution from agriculture, sewage, roads, and single-use plastics. The WasteShark’s mission is to combat this issue by efficiently removing debris and biomass, such as algae, from the water’s surface.
The Eco-Friendly Design
In stark contrast to traditional cleaning boats, which contribute to pollution through diesel or mechanical power, the WasteShark operates with zero environmental impact. Thanks to its electric-powered propulsion system, the robot operates quietly, ensuring minimal disruption to wildlife. It has been specifically engineered to avoid disturbing fish and peacefully prompts ducks and swans to move away. With this low-impact solution, the WasteShark provides an effective and environmentally friendly approach to water pollution removal.
The Capabilities of the WasteShark
Powered by batteries, the WasteShark can travel up to 5 kilometres on a single charge, providing approximately 8-10 hours of continuous cleaning time. With a daily debris collection capacity of around 500 kilograms, the robot can remove the equivalent of roughly 21,000 plastic bottles from the water. Collected waste is brought ashore, where it undergoes proper sorting, recycling, or responsible disposal. Additionally, the WasteShark collects valuable water samples during its operations, enabling the monitoring of water quality and detecting any changes over time.
A Vision for a Cleaner Future
Richard Hardiman and the Ran Marine team aspire to deploy WasteSharks worldwide, allowing for continuous cleaning of waterways and a positive impact on the environment. By aggregating water quality data from various locations, they aim to monitor trends and potential issues, such as the occurrence of algae blooms. Through this ongoing effort, the WasteShark aims to make a significant difference while we sleep, working tirelessly to create a cleaner and healthier planet.