Manta, the catamaran that feeds on ocean plastic.

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Manta, the catamaran that feeds on ocean plastic.

Yvan Bourgnon, a French ocean adventurer, and his team have designed a ship that can collect plastic trash to keep it from ruining the world’s oceans and turns the same waste into fuel to help power the ship.

Yvan Bourgnon has spent his career racing sailboats around the world as a sailor. Over the years, he encountered floating garbage mats, more and more frequent.

That inspired his new adventure: the Manta, a 56-meter / 183-foot catamaran powered by a combination of high-tech sails and electric motors.

Right now, it only exists on the drawing board, but Bourgnon and his team hope to become a working prototype that can be released in 2024.

As the ship moves through the water, conveyor belts collect the waste, sort it, and then feed it into a burner. That will melt the plastic, producing gas that powers a turbine and, in turn, generates electricity for the ship’s systems to use.

That electricity, along with solar cells and wind turbines on the ship’s deck, will make the ship 70% self-sufficient in energy, according to Yvan Bourgnon.

If 400 of the ships were made, they could clean up a third of the plastic waste in the oceans.

According to conservative estimates by 2060, there will be three times more debris in the sea than now.

Crossing your arms and saying “No, we will do nothing, we will leave it, we will focus on the mainland, we will leave the waste in the ocean” is totally irresponsible, “says Yvan Bourgnon