Solar-powered catamaran launches in Ibiza to clean up ocean plastic

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 29 March 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Ibiza has a dedicated target to become free from single-use plastic by 2023, and 2019 signified a major step towards this action with the creation of one of the world’s first solar-powered ocean cleanup catamarans.

The latest boat, named iBi, includes a unique ocean cleanup system that will filter and remove plastics from the ocean surrounding Ibiza and the Balearic Islands.

Filtering plastic from the sea

The robust structure is paired with La Bella Verde’s 100% emission-free eco boat, which is powered entirely by the elements and was recently awarded Best Start Up at the Barcelona Boat Show.

The catamaran cleanup across the Balearic sea has now begun, and is expected to make a significant impact on the area’s ocean plastic.

The system covers an area of 22.224m2 – a total of 3.11 football fields – every hour, and in that time filters 11.112 m3 – the equivalent of 4.4 olympic swimming pools.

The filters work 0.5m below the surface, collecting pieces of plastic ranging in size from 2cm up to a maximum of the entire boat’s width. This ensures that larger debris such as industrial plastic waste can also be collected.

Scaling up plastic collection

The idea was initially raised by iBi Foundation founders Ed and Joke after they found a struggling sea turtle, caught in plastic and unable to swim, in the open sea just off the Ibiza coastline.

From that moment on, their non-profit iBi Foundation started to collect plastics around the waters of Ibiza, using nothing more than a small scoop net.

iBi – the ocean cleanup catamaran

‘Although we were making an impact, it was slow and it was difficult to keep on top of all the waste’, says Ed, founder of iBi Foundation. ‘We obviously thought this was taking too long and we started to think about a quicker and more efficient way to do this; then we met La Bella Verde and their Solar Powered Catamarans!’

Collaborating to combat plastic

iBi Foundation is also working very closely with Plastic Free Ibiza, Ibiza Preservation Fund, Noctiluca Asociación, LBV Foundation and World Cleanup Day in a collaboration that will help to achieve the island’s goal to be free from single-use plastic by 2023.

Plans are already in development to further expand the fleet of catamarans. The aim is to maintain the local oceans and keep them as clean as possible for the long term, and possibly expand to other international tourist locations.

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