New Solar-Powered Beach-Combing Robot Filters Even Tiny Plastic 30x Faster Than Humans

4Ocean, the guys who you may have seen on Instagram selling bracelets made out of ocean plastic as a way to fund their ocean cleanup, have enlisted the help of new and extra-special beachcomber in their land-based campaign to end ocean plastic pollution.

The electric-powered, sand-sifting BeBot can clean up to 3,000 square meters, or 33,000 square feet, of beach per hour, making it 20-30x more effective than collecting trash by hand.

The machine is agile and easy to maneuver, a clear differentiator from existing options which tend to be derived from retired agricultural equipment powered by gas, making them less-suited to delicate beach work.

It specifically excels at removing small pieces of plastic and other trash that are notoriously difficult to clean by hand, using small 1 cm x 1 cm sifting grids to separate these items from the sand.

A pair of triangular tracks gives the BeBot a smaller footprint, while a shallower cleaning depth of 10 cm effectively removes common beach trash while avoiding disruptions to any nearby habitats or animals, providing a more effective and sustainable approach to cleanups.

A remote-controlled robot, the beach-cleaner can be operated from up to 950 feet away.

BeBot comes out of a marine-technology firm called Polaru Marine, that among many other projects such as robotics, specializes in building aluminum marinas. They construct floating solar panel banks, and other cool aqua-tech like the “mooring star,” which is essentially a giant addition sign that allows nature parks to greatly increase their boat mooring potential whilst protecting shorelines.

“BeBot has groundbreaking and unprecedented environmental assets,” stated Claire Touvier, member of the Environmental Solutions team from Poralu Marine. “With a unique track system distributing equal and minimum pressure on the sand, BeBot reduces erosion. This innovative design also helps the preservation of biodiversity as it prevents the compression of turtles’ eggs and any vegetal ecosystem in the sand.”

“We are always searching for innovative technology to improve our cleanup capabilities,” said Alex Schultze, co-founder of 4Ocean. “With the launch of the BeBot, we are able to work smarter and sustainably while recovering plastic that has already seen the ocean and preventing new plastic from ever getting there in the first place.”

In a statement, 4Ocean revealed that they were on track to remove their twenty millionth pound of plastic trash from the ocean, despite lifting pound number sixteen million just one month ago.

This is a more than 100% increase from 16 months before when GNN reported they were “closing in” on their eight millionth pound, a milestone it took them almost three years to reach.