Rotterdam’s new sharks will eat all the trash in the port’s waters

The port of Rotterdam will soon feature a new marine resident. The ‘Waste Shark,’ a drone roughly the size of your average car, will float around the port’s waters keeping an aye out for trash which it can “eat” for processing.

Put a fin on it! Image credits RanMarine.

Put a fin on it!
Image credits RanMarine.

The city of Rotterdam, Holland has been making a lot of effort in the past few years to lessen its environmental impact, and the port hasn’t been overlooked. Under the startup program PortXL, the city’s port authority has also been promoting new solutions to help make it more efficient, more sustainable, and overall just a better place. At the conclusion of the program’s first year, the port signed an agreement with South-African startup RanMarine to deploy a new drone on its waters — the Waste Shark.

The Port of Rotterdam has already announced one drone resident — the AquasmartXL, a small unmanned boat equipped with a camera that allows real-time inspection and surveillance of the water surface. But where the AquasmartXL is the eyes of Rotterdam, the Wave Shark will be its mouth. This drone is roughly the size of a car and can eat up to 500 kilograms (1102 pounds) of trash using a ‘mouth’ 35 cm under the water line. It will “fight ‘plastic soup’ at the source as 90% of all waste in the ocean starts in urban areas,” PortXL’s page reads.

Allard Castelein, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority said that the Rotterdam Port Authority is determined to explore all avenues of innovation, as stated in their operational philosophy.

“Innovation cannot be forced. However, you can create an environment in which innovation is likely to take place and be in line with the market,” he said.

“We support research in conjunction with universities, such as the Port Innovation Lab with the Delft University of Technology and of course our own Erasmus University in Rotterdam. And we collaborate with contests for students. In addition, we support Dutch start-ups that are relevant to the port, but we also scout worldwide via PortXL; the first accelerator that focuses on port start-ups on a global level.”

The contract requires four Waste Sharks For to scour the waters for the next six months as part of a test run for the drones. They will operate in areas where it is too difficult, dangerous, or undesirable to use manned solutions. This includes under jetties, bridges and other structures.

5 thoughts on “Rotterdam’s new sharks will eat all the trash in the port’s waters

  1. Brian

    Sounds good. Now pay for waste plastic and trash and convert it to oil and gas and less of it will; get dumped.

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  3. llewellynh

    Live in a Town that does require all of us to have a separate can for waste plastic and it is collected separately and turned into dollars for the town which keeps our taxes down.

  4. Brian

    Where? I am always searching for examples of town's that do it well. Do they convert it to fuels, or sell it on the recycle market (which is highly variable) .

  5. llewellynh

    Berkeley Township, NJ. They sell it on the recycling market. We went from being slobs to having first an all purpose can with wheels that an automated truck could pick up and dump and return it to the street. Now we have two of those cans in different colors and one is just for plastics and it really is easy to do. It pays down other bills and the automated trucks while expensive up front allowed the previous three people on the payroll per truck to be cut down to one. And because the area was growing I don't think any lost their jobs but were moved into new areas.

    Several towns in Ocean County NJ are doing this and it just makes sense but there is an upfront investment in the cans and trucks. I think it would be very expensive for a single town or even a county to do the conversion but for all I know this is a county wide plan. It looks that way and each town has its own colors and the cans are numbered to cut down on theft.

    Oh, and the cans which are rather large are put out on separate days of the week in order to keep the contents separate all the way through the process. It works well in suburban and rural areas but might be a bit much in a large city because the cans are big and would hog sidewalk space.

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