This solar water wheel could be the solution to plastic ocean debris
The water wheel sits at the perfect place to collect all of this debris before it can make it any farther and it’s working really well. Every day since May 16 when it was installed, it has removed tons of debris from the water, with about 63 tons collected as of July 7. It’s capable of processing 25 tons a day, though it hasn’t ever processed more than about 5 tons in a day.
The wheel works because the current of the river provides power to turn the water wheel. The wheel lifts trash and debris from the water and deposits it in a dumpster barge. When there isn’t enough current to turn the wheel, a solar panel array keeps the wheel moving. When the dumpster is full, a boat comes to tow it away and replace it with a new one.
The great news is that any city with tightly-controlled tributaries can have the same success with this technology. An entire watershed’s trash and debris can be prevented from reaching the ocean.
The trash collected by the water wheel is taken to a waste-to-energy plant where it is burned to produce electricity. The debris can’t be recycled because after rainstorms the runoff also includes sewage making the trash hazardous material.
The solar water wheel has become a bit of a celebrity. It has its own Twitter account @MrTrashWheel and a YouTube video of the wheel in action has gotten over a million views.
You can watch the video below.