The SeaVax project began in 2015 under Bluebird Marine Systems with the aim of removing plastic from rivers and seas. The project is developing new technology to aid ocean conservation battle climate change. Since its launch, SeaVax has put a plethora of research into developing low carbon alternatives for waterborne transportation which they have used to design a zero-carbon vessel powered by wind and solar energy. A proof of concept 1/20thscale model was exhibited close to the start of the project.
In 2017 SeaVax was taken over bythe Cleaner Ocean Foundation (a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation with charitable attributes based in Hailsham, East Sussex). The organisation has chosen not to raise funds selling SeaVax commercially. Despite the Climate Emergency, there has still been a struggle to secure funding to build something as big as SeaVax. This lack of support for the project has had a significant effect on the development of the full-size model.
There is still hope for SeaVax as a developing system to transport people and goods via zero-carbon vessels. The Climate Change Challenge project, working in association with the Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd. has received funding to create the ‘Climate Challenger’ – a zero-carbon long-range cruiser. Since the same wind and solar system operating system would be used for both vessels, there may be some hope for EU funding. This has been potentially hindered by the political vulnerability of the UK at the end of 2019, but the SeaVax team remain hopeful.
Alongside building a zero-carbon machinery, the project supports changes in G20policy made by leaders in Hamburg in 2017. There is currently a lack of policing when it comes to dumping plastic waste in international waters.
Thanks to G20, now there is a limit on single use plastic on land. This will have a positive long-term impact on the environment as it will reduce the rate at which plastic is dumped. Unfortunately, it will not reduce the levels of plastic already present in our oceans. It is vital to not only to fund further research but to support in policy towards ocean cleaning projects.
Congratulations to all the volunteers that have gotten SeaVax to where it is today and will continue to push the project forward.