SEAVAX  - PLANKTON & MICROPLASTICS   Ocean plastic cleaning autonomous robot ship model solar panel layout

A selective filtration system that protects plankton and collects microplastic



Krill, fish food for marine mammals


KRILL - Krill are small crustaceans of the order Euphausiacea, and are found in all the world's oceans. The name krill comes from the Norwegian word krill, meaning "small fry of fish", which is also often attributed to species of fish.

Krill are considered an important trophic level connection – near the bottom of the food chain – because they feed on phytoplankton and to a lesser extent zooplankton, converting these into a form suitable for many larger animals for whom krill makes up the largest part of their diet. In the Southern Ocean, one species, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, makes up an estimated biomass of around 379,000,000 tonnes, making it among the species with the largest total biomass. Of this, over half is eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish each year, and is replaced by growth and reproduction. Most krill species display large daily vertical migrations, thus providing food for predators near the surface at night and in deeper waters during the day.

Krill are fished commercially in the Southern Ocean and in the waters around Japan. The total global harvest amounts to 150,000–200,000 tonnes annually, most of this from the Scotia Sea. Most of the krill catch is used for aquaculture and aquarium feeds, as bait in sport fishing, or in the pharmaceutical industry. In Japan, Philippines and Russia, krill is also used for human consumption and is known as okiami (
オキアミ?) in Japan. In the Philippines, it is known as "alamang" and it is used to make a salty paste called bagoong.



We don't want our plastic catch contaminated with bio material. We want clean plastic as our harvest. But, microplastics are mixed with microorganisms in a soup in the 5 main gyres. So, how does our ocean going robot vacuum up plastic and exclude plankton, etc.?


On the face of it the problem appears insurmountable. Fortunately, there are devices called cyclones and hydrocyclones, that do not use physical filters to strain particles from a moving body of air or water. Because there are no physical barriers, marine life that is not of the size and mass that our hydrocyclones are searching for, can pass through the system unharmed in a unique two stage process. Our hydrocyclones can be tuned to extract only required particle sizes and density and allow others sizes through. But that level of fine tuning requires dedicated electronics and dedicated low and high pressure pumps and chambers.


You may not have heard of a cyclone, but you will have heard of a Dyson vacuum cleaner, that is a bag-less filtration system. Domestic vacuum cleaners work in a similar way to SeaVax, except that air is the fluid medium rather than water. Domestic vacuum cleaners incorporate mesh filters either before or after the fan - we do not - because those physical barriers can harm marine life and clog.


To begin with, SeaVax must be able to tell what lies in the water ahead of its giant vacuum mouth. Electronics come to our rescue here. Today there are many sensors that are capable of seeing microplastics, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish and larger marine life and inanimate objects. Sophisticated sonar provides some of the solution, but that is useless without a dedicated computer program to interpret the data being collected, both ahead and astern of the vessel.


Our main problem is to selectively extract microplastics, without extracting:


A. Microorganisms

B. Fish

Onboard computers will be trained (programmed) not to harvest plastic when there is life ahead using these electronic eyes. Robots and computers can do things that humans cannot.  Humans are easily distracted and get tired, robots don't. Humans have only 5 senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Touch might be split into pressure, heat and pain, to give us 7 senses, and then you begin to realize how complicated we are, because, we also need to know where our body parts are in relation to each other.


SeaVax also needs to know more than where it is on the Earth's surface and what lies ahead, the ship is an ocean going dustcart that needs to be self-aware in relation to load capacity and weather conditions. It is also a virtual marine-laboratory at sea.


We will train our SeaVax prototype to fine tune the fluid filters onboard to allow plankton to pass through unharmed. The system will learn what to harvest and what to leave alone, or even rescue. We cannot tell you too much about how we do this, or the patent offices around the world will refuse the inventor protection.


For those of you who do not know about inventions, prior (art) publication is grounds for refusal. Where patents are so expensive and have only a 20 year lifespan, we have to limit information dissemination to be sure that we get the job done properly. We don't want imitators putting copycat machines on the market that are not up to the task of protecting marine life. Cutting corners like that is bound to happen without some form of protection for operators who need equipment that does what it says on the can.





There are a number of ways of filtering marine life from seawater:


1. Use a physical mesh to prevent objects of a certain size from entering the system.

2. Use visual and acoustic warnings in some situations.

3. Use a hydrocyclone filter to capture only targeted plastic pieces

4. Shut down the system when larger marine mammals are detected.





Where we have eliminated diesel fuel from the equation, we will have to pay for satellite communications. Operational comms take up containable bandwidth for effective fleet control via satellite redirected radio signals in normal circumstances. Even so, someone has to pay for that time and for us to be able to build and operate these machines.


High bandwidth for cameras, as when rescuing a seal trapped in nets, cost a great deal more. Where SeaVax can detect mammals in trouble, we really should do something with that ability, but the bill is likely to be much bigger to cope with emergencies.


At the moment Governments and Governmental Organizations (including non-governmental organizations) do not seem to be interested in helping us. We are therefore hoping that those who care about marine mammals and clean oceans might contribute directly, especially if we are to be able to include animal rescue options as part of operations.





Should there come a time when fish is in such short supply that krill and phytoplankton is revisited as a viable food supplement, it is nice to know that SeaVax is laying the foundations for fleets of fishing robots that has the means onboard to be sure they only catch permitted quotas.


This is not so far fetched as it sounds. Many Asian countries already enjoy plankton every day. Whales live long and healthy lives on krill, so there is no doubting the the energy, protein and vitamins that plankton can provide. The only issue, according to the Daily Mail article on Wartime research, is the taste. We're thinking of a nice curry right now. Of at least a dish fortified with plankton.




COPEPODS - A re known as 'the insects of the sea' due to their large numbers. There are believed to be around 10,000 different species.

Found in fresh and salt water, they measure no more than a few millimetres long. One species, found in the cold waters off the UK, is the calanus. During winter, it hibernates at a depth of 1,000m to avoid predators - and builds up lipid (fatty) stores in the process.

The largest is the Pennella Balaenopterae, which lives on the finback whale and can grow to over a foot long. Copepods are crustaceans - and the largest source of protein in the ocean. They have two antenna, a shell and segmented bodies and graze on phytoplankton and zooplankton.




MARINE PHYTOPLANKTON THE NEXT OCEAN SUPERFOOD - Jacques Cousteau (inventor of the aqualung) said that the future of nutrition is found in the oceans, but then Jules Verne predicted that also with Captain Nemo and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In the depths of the oceans thrives a community of microorganism that may be the key to our planets biological existence. We all know that the first life started in the ocean and it all began with the appearance of microorganisms that were able to photosynthesize sunlight. Marine Phytoplankton is not only responsible for 90% of the Earth's oxygen but it is also the staple food for some of our planets largest and longest living animals such as the Blue Whale that can live up be up to 200 years old.

After an extensive research, a group of European scientists found a strain of Marine Phytoplankton that is fit for human consumption. Nannochloropsis Gaditana is probably the smallest food known to man, it is smaller than a red blood cell, but this micro-algae contains around 65 vitamins and minerals including trace minerals such as selenium and chromium which is key to fighting and preventing diseases.




PHYTOPLANKTON HEALTH BENEFITS - Because it is single celled it easily bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed by the body. It goes straight to the liver then to the bloodstream and is deliver where healing is needed the most. Because of this fast cell penetration results can be seen in days.


Phytoplankton is rich in chlorophyll, like Chlorella and Spirulina, a known anti cancer, anti oxidant and digestion regulator. 


Phytoplankton is rich in essential fatty acids including DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA or also icosapentaenoic acid an omega-3 fatty acid). EPA which has the ability to produce all the nutrients our body requires. EPA in marine phytoplankton is in phospholipids, part of lipid which is easier to be absorbed through our cells, whereas EPA in fish oil is trigycelerides, and is not as easily absorbed. It is rich in Vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B12.  It is the Ideal food for eyesight and neurological development of children. It contains many vital trace minerals that are essentials for production of neurological chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which can cure chronic depression, ADHD, and dementia.

Phytoplankton can normalize cell division and restores the body's balance. Marine Phytoplankton contains all the trace elements our body needs for homeostasis, the process of any biological system to heal itself.

Marine Phytoplankton can be mixed with a smoothie, since it is so dense with nutrition just ½ to 1 teaspoon of the powder added on your daily smoothie is enough to power dose your day. For a simple drink and if readily available, mix a teaspoon with fresh coconut water for a refreshing drink.





The Second World War had been raging for more than two years, with rationing in force and mounting fears of a U-boat blockade.

Faced with the prospect of food supplies being cut off, a pair of eminent scientists came up with a solution: Let them eat plankton. They planned to harvest tons of the microscopic creatures from Scottish lochs.

Secret wartime letters just uncovered reveal that Professor Alister Hardy, a marine biologist at Hull University, told colleagues that plankton – the term for a range of drifting organisms found in fresh and sea water – were high in protein and could be ‘tasty’.

He convinced Sir John Graham Kerr, an MP and regius professor of biology at Glasgow University, and they calculated that ten nets could catch enough plankton in 12 hours to feed 357 people.

In 1941 Sir John wrote to Richard Elmhirst, director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, who appears to have been sceptical: ‘It is simply silly to brush the matter aside as of no importance, when one remembers the sea off our coasts is often soup-like in its richness with nutritive material. ‘No doubt you have tested for yourself the tastiness of some types of plankton.’

Scientists reckoned that nets anchored in Loch Fyne would cost £90,000 and would catch over 26 tons of plankton each day. Hardy proposed: 'The plankton would be emptied into containers and conveyed to the nearest pier where it would stand ready to be conveyed by lorry or motor boat to the drying plant.

'Simple drying plants would be set up at convenient points along the coast and the resulting dry plankton dispatched in sacks to a headquarters factory for testing, sorting, mixing and final preparation into meal...

'The anchoring and inspection of nets would be done by motor boats which could also be continually cruising the area investigating the richest regions of plankton.'

Trials went ahead in 1941, 1942 and 1943 but it was found that the season was too short for the scheme to work. By 1942 the first stockpiles had been harvested, but the plankton proved trickier to catch than the scientists expected, and the project was quietly abandoned.

The letters were found by Geoffrey Moore, emeritus professor in marine biology at the University of London, in the Association’s archive.

He said: ‘I know of only one person who has tried plankton and he found it rather fishy and gritty.
‘He wasn’t terribly impressed, but I suppose it would depend on how hungry you were.’

Richard Kirby of the University of Plymouth, the author of a book about plankton called Ocean Drifters – A Secret World Beneath the Waves, said the idea of eating plankton is not so bizarre. He added: ‘The Germans had similar plans during the war, and there are still people trying to do this today.’

Prof Moore, who is also president of the Society for History of Natural History, said he was not surprised at what he found. He said: 'Marine biologists come up with a lot of strange ideas.'





PLANKTON - The word Plankton comes from the Greek word planktos meaning “wanderer” or “drifter”. They are a group of organisms that are too small or too fragile to swim against naturally occurring currents. Plankton inhabit both freshwater and marine environments, such as lakes, ponds, and oceans. Plankton can be broadly divided into two main groups: phytoplankton (plants) and zooplankton (animals). Phytoplankton are one of the primary producers in the ocean; like plants, they carry out photosynthesis to covert inorganic nutrients and light energy into organic material. Zooplankton, on the other hand, graze on phytoplankton or consume other zooplankton smaller than themselves. While you might think that plankton are too small to be seen by unaided eyes; that is not entirely true. Planktonic organisms have a very wide range in sizes. Many of them are microscopic in size; but others, like jellyfish, could grow up to more than one meter long. Some societies eat plankton directly. The Japanese dish Okami is made from krill, a shrimp-like plankton



But this scheme was not that odd - there are fisheries for various plankton in Japan and Scandinavia. 'I've been interested for many years in the history of marine biology and for the last ten years have been delving into all sorts of historic marine biology archives. 'When I found these letters, I thought I would write them up as an academic paper.

'Sir Alister Hardy thought it was a way he could contribute to the war effort, because he wasn't in the forces himself. 'There was plenty of plankton around, but there was the question of how easy it would be to catch. You would need a very large net with a very small mesh.

'There would be the problem of the pressure of the water trying to push through a net, which would become clogged up with debris - not to mention basking sharks.

'I only know of one person who has tried plankton and he found it rather fishy and gritty. Unlike a prawn, which you can peel, the exoskeleton was still intact. 'He wasn't terribly impressed, but I suppose it would depend on how hungry you were. 'And I expect it was intended that the plankton would have been added to other foods rather than eaten on its own.
By Nick Enoch and Tamara Cohen




FISHING NETS - Plans were drawn up to harvest the microscopic sea creatures to sustain Britain if food supplies were cut off during World War Two. This is a sketch of a net proposed for full-scale collection of plankton. A is a rope net used to to enable rope B to be pulled inside out. A continuous cable (left) is used to lower or raise the nets to the desired depth. To the right is the line, attached to cork, for hauling up the catch.



Scotland produces some of the tastiest shrimps and prawns


SCOTLAND - The boffins calculated that nets anchored in Loch Fyne would cost £90,000 and would catch over 26 tons of plankton each day. The loch is seen here in 1933



Hammersmith fish queue in World War Two


HAMMERSMITH - London in 1945 during WWII, a queue waiting to claim their rations. Food security is one of the biggest issues in the quest for world stability. The other main issues are water and energy. In other words, the essentials of life.








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