According to the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the oceans each year, adding to the approximately 150 million metric tons that already present in global marine systems. Plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in 100% of sea turtles species. With plastic production and consumption are predicted to double over the next 10 years, the problem will be dramatically compounded if nothing is done.

Ocean Conservancy is just one of many groups working to cleanup waterways and the oceans and find ways of preventing plastic from ever entering the marine environment.

One of those other groups is The Ocean Cleanup, which is developing technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic and has a goal of cleaning up 90% of ocean plastic pollution. Its latest project revolves around the Interceptor™, a floating device that extracts plastic debris from rivers, thus preventing it from ever entering the oceans. With a storage capacity of 50m3 (roughly the volume of ten adult elephants), each machine is capable of extracting up to 50,000 kilos of trash per day. It has been tested in the Netherlands and South East Asia, and the group’s plan is to place Interceptors in 1,000 rivers over the next five years.

Protective coatings play an important role in the performance of these river trash collectors.  Intershield 300 from AkzoNobel, an anticorrosive universal primer with an extensive 30-year track record, provides high performance anti-corrosion protection while minimizing maintenance requirements.

Launched in 2017, the partnership between AkzoNobel and The Ocean Cleanup involves close collaboration of technical teams from both parties to develop coatings solutions for the ocean cleaning systems. Testing of the Interceptors, which are still in the prototype phase, is continuing in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with work on the latest prototype already underway.

“We’re proud to be part of this new chapter in The Ocean Cleanup’s ongoing war on plastic waste,” says Jean Michel Gauthier, global business director for AkzoNobel’s Marine, Protective and Yacht Coatings business. “We’ll continue to collaborate and offer all our know-how and expertise to help realize their ambition of cleaning up the world’s oceans and rivers.”

CoatingsTech | Vol. 17, No. 1 | January 2020