The Finnish technology company Wärtsilä will commercialize a system developed by the Italian shipping company Grimaldi Group to remove microplastics in the world’s oceans.
The Grimaldi Group, an Italian multinational specializing in marine transport, has developed and patented a revolutionary system to clear seawater from microplastics and heavy metals.
Plastic pollution is becoming an urgent global environmental challenge. Every year about 8 million tonnes of plastic get dumped into the seas, putting marine ecosystems at risk.
To tackle the problem, the Grimaldi Group developed the idea of transforming ships into “vacuum cleaners of the sea“, allowing them to collect pollutant particles and remove them from the water filtered while sailing.
The device is applied to the scrubbers installed on ships to purify exhaust gas, allowing the vessels to filter out microplastics from the large quantities of wash-water (about 20,000 tonnes per day) that they collect, use and then return to the sea. This way, microplastic particles are prevented from being ingested by fish and other marine organisms and entering the food chain.
pleased to provide a solution for the shipping industry. The idea for this innovative technology originated from recognizing that open-loop exhaust gas cleaning systems can draw seawater for exhaust scrubbing and simultaneously collect microplastic present in the oceans as part of their normal operation”, commented Grimaldi Group Managing Director Emanuele Grimaldi.
The first company to obtain the non-exclusive license for the development and marketing of the new system is Wärtsilä, a world leader in technologies for the marine and energy industries. The microplastic filter will be an integral feature of the future wash-water treatment systems produced by the Finnish group.
“It is a pleasure to continue our long relationship with Grimaldi and announce this innovation”, stated Tamara de Gruyter, President of Marine Systems at Wärtsilä. “Microplastics are a pressing environmental challenge, and we are proud to work together with Grimaldi to tackle cleaning up the oceans. The ability to capture microplastics shows that scrubbers are a platform for solving a wide range of sustainability challenges – and now even ones that are beyond the stack.”
According to the results obtained from the early tests onboard a vessel that Grimaldi deployed between Civitavecchia and Barcelona, 64.680 microplastic particles were collected on a single voyage, qualifying the Italian company as a true pioneer of blue economy sustainability.
Furthermore, the Grimaldi Group has announced that it will devolve the revenues made thanks to this new patent to charities and NGOs.