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Tehachapi Resident Startup Filters Marine Pollution | News

The idea that came out of a man’s daily commute from Tehachapi to his job at Edwards Air Force Base could lead to a new approach to removing plastic debris from the world’s oceans.

Former aerospace program manager Pat Marshall first envisioned a way to power a marine filtration system using only fuel obtained from collected plastic during this one-hour drive, a by-product. He said that ash can be used in manufacturing.

At the end of last year, Marshall’s organization, Our Cleaner Planet, completed testing a small prototype. As a result, larger models remove plastic from 250 acres of water per hour.

OCP’s success may depend not only on technological advances, but also on efforts to fund pollution remediation through new tax credits and market mechanisms similar to California’s cap-and-trade system.

With the proliferation of images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, plastic pollution in the ocean is becoming a serious international environmental problem.

A study published in January 2020 suggests that especially marine microplastics affect phytoplankton photosynthesis and growth, harm zooplankton, and affect the amount of carbon that the ocean can store. increase.

Other technologies have been proposed to remove the world of large and small particulate plastics that researchers say pose risks to the climate and other environments. The difference from OCP’s unique technology is the conversion of plastic into clean fuel in the field. I will keep running. “

Two OCP board members expressed their hope on Thursday to help donors and investors fund the development of full-scale vessels that generate public and private sector income to reduce pollution. Did. Some, such as graphene, briquette, and carbon, can be permanently isolated on concrete.

Aerospace engineer Dave Laughlin said the November test results show great expectations for organizations with non-profit education and commercial sectors that sell ash.

“We’re moving past the early stages to something that looks very viable,” Laughlin said, and the 100 million needed for the OCP to begin full-scale plastic removal within four to five years. He added that he expects to raise $ 20 million.

David Brit, another board member with oil and aerospace backgrounds, said some income from government and plastic producers because “they are the ones who make the products that are causing confusion.” He said he sees that there is.

Marshall, who still lives in Tehachapi but is now devoted to the filtration project, gave a presentation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bakersfield on Thursday, where the collector was due to the difference in water levels produced by the effluent filtration pump. Said it will be promoted.

Movement is relatively slow: I had to view a video of a running 1: 164 scale model in time-lapse mode to show that I was moving across the test pool. “The system worked as expected,” he said.

At full scale, the ship travels at about 3 knots, or 3.5 mph, and uses a quarter-mile wide filtration array to process 18,000 gallons of water per hour.

Large pieces of plastic are collected behind the ship and partially sorted by human hands when carried by a conveyor belt to a generator that drives the filter. Small pieces of plastic were placed in a separate conveyor and processed before they became fuel, and Marshall himself designed a microfilter to be used.

Marshall pointed out that different parts of the ocean show different densities of plastic fuel, and the ship departs with the filtration array collapsed and deploys at its destination.

He said the company is considering what is needed for the density and fuel content of various plastics and how efficiently it can be filtered.

According to Marshall, 90% of the plastic material is fueled and the remaining ash has about 40 crew members and operates for a total of 11 months a year. By 2025 at sea.

The company may apply for patients in September and apply for other patients, but Marshall talks technically about filtration and incinerator systems, other than combining new innovations with existing technologies. I refused to do that. He said multiple subcontractors would be involved.

Marshall worked for Lockheed Martin for 16 years and at other aerospace manufacturers, including Mitsubishi. He said a $ 120 million company needs to be aware that his vision can come from a combination of government, business and individuals. The company is currently accepting donations from OCP’s non-profit division.

After his presentation on Thursday, Marshall provided a brief analogy of what the ship would do.

“It’s a self-licking ice cream cone,” he said.

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