Canadian students create a machine that vacuums microplastics from beaches – 02/01/2021

Engineering students at the University of Sherbrooke, in Quebec, Canada, have developed equipment capable of vacuuming up plastic particles accumulated in beach sand. Microplastic is one of the main pollutants in the oceans and poses several risks to animal life.

The design and manufacturing of the prototype capable of collecting microplastic particles accumulated on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, was carried out in collaboration with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, responsible for cleaning up the region (known as one of the worst in terms of accumulation of marine litter). debris) for two decades, as part of a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

At the end of the course, three members of the original team decided to continue the project and turn it into a commercial enterprise. Together they created the HoolaOne Technologies Inc. with the aim of developing new ways to restore ecosystems affected by plastic pollution.

The machine works like a large vacuum cleaner capable of separating plastic particles from sand. All the material is sent to a tank containing water, where separation takes place. Because it is heavier, the sand stays at the bottom and returns to the beach. The plastic floats and remains in a reservoir inside the instrument.

The most recent design of the equipment was finalized in November 2020 and won, among other things, first place in the Fowler — Global Social Innovation Challenge, in California.

Julia Fleming

"Prone to fits of apathy. Beer evangelist. Incurable coffeeaholic. Internet expert."

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