Help to keep rivers clean with solar powered workboats



Unhloy mess Ganges pollution poster


1 MILLION TONS A DAY - Approximately 1 billion litres of raw, untreated sewage, are dumped in the River Ganges on a daily basis. The amount has more than doubled in the last 20 years and experts predict another 100% increase in the following 20 years if unchecked.





The SeaVax concept can be adapted to clean river waste as a RiverVax™ variation, provided that we know what kind of pollution we are targeting. Many rivers carry raw sewage discharges that would be unthinkable in Europe and the USA and would carry huge fines for the perpetrators. Asia in particular has little in the way of a reliable regulatory mechanism with untreated sewage and industrial waste being discharged directly into open rivers. Political systems in some locations may suffer from corruption, maladministration, negligence or all three, allowing chemical and leather factories, to continue to produce goods cheaply with little thought for the pollution consequences further downstream and out at sea. This is though the subject of much effort on the part of some administrations - in particular, India, with their clean up mission.


A lot of this is because the operators of factories are not aware of ocean pollution, and have used their rivers for so long that it may appear to them, inconceivable that what they have been doing for so long can be doing any harm.


Rather than tackle the political or educational aspects of the pollution problem, SeaVax™ may be deployed as RiverVax™ strategically to ease the situation. The presence of such vessels may intrigue the local population at first, but soon they will learn why these workboats are in their rivers - and that will mean that they might start to take an interest in why they are there - leading to a more informed attitude.


Whereas a major oil spillage is a rarity, river pollution is an everyday occurrence that is getting worse and that means more ocean pollution. We need clean rivers to be able to work our way up to a global Circular Economy. SeaVax may be able to help, because it is powered by energy harvested from nature, whatever is cleaned from the rivers is sustainable in terms of not adding to planet earth's global warming problems.



Innovation for Innovate 2015, SeaVax display stand


INNOVATION - The full size SeaVax will be capable of extracting plastic or oil from the ocean and surface and river bed pollution from many rivers. We hope to interest appropriate governments departments all over the world as potential partners to the SeaVax project. The above boat will be on display in London between the 9-10th of November 2015 at the Old Billingsgate exhibition halls. REVOLVING SHOW STAND -  This is a picture of our display on November 10th 2015 at the Innovate 2015 event in London. For those of you interested in exhibitions and design, you can see a video of the stand revolving on our Homepage. This stand was constructed of recycled steel and other domestic machinery parts - as part of our example to all of sustainable practices in action.





There are so many variables that come into play that we can only offer a rough guide as to the treatment capacity of a typical SeaVax vessel.


SeaVax has a capacity to generate around 44kW of solar energy per hour for at least 8 hours in sunny climates, with a top up of 40kW in windy conditions from two 20kW wind turbines to combine to yield 84kW of harvested energy in favorable conditions. Wind energy varies with the topography of the land, but is unlikely to be anywhere near that in the open ocean - and for this reason using SeaVax in rivers is likely to be less efficient that at sea.


Regardless, on average over a year, the energy harvested as a percentage of the maximum, should provide enough energy to treat 89.9 million liters or waste water per vessel + surface skimming of solids.


Alone this would not make a dent on the problems of, as an extreme example, the River Ganges as part of PM Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, but with a fleet of 10 vessels there would be a slight improvement locally on sewage with a marked improvement on surface appearance. With a fleet of 100 RiverVax things would start to look promising. One might expect a good surface appearance with speedy remedy for local problem areas.


With a fleet of 1,000 vessels, a quarter of the total waste in the Ganges could be treated. The wholesale cost of such an operation would be $5 billion. It is hardly surprising therefore that the $1 billion spent so far has not made that much difference. On current estimates it would take $20 billion to treat the billion liters a day being flushed into the Ganges - and where would all those boats be sited. That is another logistical problem that would need a feasibility study to come to terms with. We do not, therefore, suggest filling the Holy Mother Ganga with so many vessels.


While RiverVax™ may offer a temporary solution, we would recommend the installation of land based treatment works and a system to penalize factories and municipalities who do not make the effort to clean up their patch. Fortunately, part of this process has already begun.


Compared to The Ganges, Guanabara Bay, a current media hotspot due to the impending Olympic Games, would be a cakewalk for RiverVax™.


The World Health Organisation and World Bank might like to base their estimations on sustainably clean rivers on this information, or otherwise contact us if they would like a tailored estimate for any given river in the world.



Rio Doce exits into the Atlantic Ocean with a vast mud plume


BRAZIL - Rio Doce spilling out into the Atlantic. On the 5th of November 2015 a dam holding back waste water from an iron ore mine in Mariana, South-Eastern Brazil, owned by BHP Billiton and Vale collapsed, devastating a nearby town with mudslides, killing at least 17 people, injuring more than 50, causing enormous ecological damage, and threatening life along the river and the Atlantic sea near the mouth of the Rio Doce.





A huge brown plume of mud and mining waste spread out along the coast of the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo on Monday, a little over two weeks after the collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine.

According to projections from Brazil’s environment ministry, the tide is expected to spread along 5.5-mile (9km) stretch of the coastline, threatening the Comboios nature reserve, one of the only regular nesting sites for the endangered leatherback turtle.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s awful; it’s a calamity,” Joca Thome, the national coordinator of the marine conservation organisation Tamar, told the press after flying over the area. “It looks like brown gelatin spreading out to sea.”

Around 50m cubic metres of mining residue has been working its way down the Rio Doce since the accident at the Fundão dam, controlled by the mining company Samarco, on 5 November.

Twelve people have been confirmed dead and another 11 are still missing, as the tide of sludge wiped out several communities in the state of Minas Gerais, before making its way into the Rio Doce.

The mud has extinguished vast amounts of plant and animal life along a 400-mile (650km) stretch of the river, with the heightened turbidity drastically reducing the levels of oxygen in the water.




RIO DE JANEIRO - The Brazillian government have installed booms at the mouths of rivers feeding into Guanabara Bay, in the hope of limiting pollution for the Olympic Games. This is a short term solution that is simply storing up the problem for later. Unless the waste is collected and disposed of responsibly, or recycled sustainable, the problem can only get worse.



Concern over toxins in the mining residue has led the national water agency, ANA, to ban the use of the river water for human consumption. Hundreds of thousands of residents in the area are still dependent on supplies of bottled water.

Over the past few days, Samarco, a joint venture between the Brazilian firm Vale and the Anglo-Australian company BHP Billiton, has contracted fishermen in the coastal village of Regência to install protective barriers along the estuary of the Rio Doce.

Diggers have also been working to widen the mouth of the river to ensure that the mud drifts out to sea as quickly as possible, in the hope that the salinity and the volume of water will aid its rapid dispersal.

The water in the estuary began turning brown on Saturday afternoon, as a crowd of angry locals gathered by the village dock to watch. The first dead fish began floating to the surface on Sunday.

So far Samarco has agreed to pay R$1bn (US$250m) in cleanup costs and compensation, as well as a fine of R$250m (US$66m) to the federal environmental agency Ibama.

A report in Monday’s Folha de São Paulo newspaper, however, suggested that from 2011 to 2014, only 8.7% of the fines issued by Ibama were collected.





RIVER CLEANING BOATS - The current state of the art is represented by these diesel powered machines. The problems with diesel as a fuel for cleaning large stretches of water is the cost of purchase and the cost to the environment. Simply put, it is not only cost ineffective but is also polluting, so contributing to climate change. What is needed is a zero carbon solution such as the RiverVax™ concept, that uses only energy harvested from nature for cleaning operations in rivers, and in the open oceans, as SeaVax™.


DIESEL ENGINES - Produce Carbon monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx). CO is a short-lived greenhouse gas and also has an indirect radiative forcing effect by elevating concentrations of methane and tropospheric ozone through chemical reactions with other atmospheric pollutants.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the nitrogen oxides (NOx), a group of air pollutants produced from combustion processes. In urban outdoor air, the presence of NO2 is mainly due to traffic. Nitric oxide (NO), which is emitted by motor vehicles or other combustion processes, combines with oxygen in the atmosphere, producing NO2. NO2 and other nitrogen oxides are also precursors for a number of harmful secondary air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter, and play a role in the formation of acid rain.



ACID RAID - Rainfall is naturally acidic due to the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which combines with rainwater to form weak carbonic acid. However, the combustion of fossil fuels produces waste gases such as sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (collectively known as NOx) and to a lesser extent, chloride (Cl). These pollutants can be converted, through a series of complex chemical reactions, into sulphuric acid, nitric acid or hydrochloric acid, increasing the acidity of the rain or other type of precipitation.


ACID OCEANS - At least one-quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning coal, oil and gas doesn't stay in the air, but instead dissolves into the ocean. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the ocean has absorbed some 525 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, presently around 22 million tons per day. NOx emissions from marine diesels contribute to ground level ozone, PM, eutrophication , acid deposition, nitrification and indirect effects that contribute to global warming





The Guardian environment bp oil spill

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Youtube Robot River Cleaning Model




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