The Open Hardware Oil spill cleaning sailing robot.
The worst environmental catastrophe in US history just happened here, in the Gulf of Mexico.
But there are Oil spills all around, all the time.
To clean the BP DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill, they used all sorts of expensive technologies. In all, only 3% of the oil was skimmed, the clean-up crew was exposed to toxic chemicals, putting their health at risk. We think we can do better.
Conventional skimmers basically trace clean paths in a sea of oil.
Oil moves downwind following surface current, so the best way to capture it is to move upwind.
One layer of oil absorbing material is ok, but consecutive layers collect more oil.
Protei uses the wind to power an unmanned sailing robot that pulls a long oil absorbing boom "tail", sailing upwind autonomously, without exposing the health of human beings on board.
- test 0
A normal sail boat looses steering and pulling power when you pull a long load, so what we did is to simply put the steering at the front.
- Protei 1
We hacked a little remote controlled boat, and it worked! We had great control and speed, and using a very little rudder at the front we were able to steer a very long and heavy tail at the back.
- Protei 2
The problem is when you go upwind, every time you turn, you face the wind for a moment. When you face the wind, you no longer have pulling power, so you loose control. We made an articulated sail boat, protei 2, flexible : it moves like an animal !
When it tacks upwind, it is able to catch wind from both sides. That means it never looses pulling power and can pull a long heavy load. Protei may be the first sail boat in history that can do this, inaugurating a new family in ocean robotics.
- Protei 3
Now, we want to build Protei cheap and make it very powerful and safe. So we made a large inflatable version, Protei 3. Because it is very light and it has a very small footprint in the water while having a large sail surface : great pulling power.
- Protei 5
We made a version packed with electronics and sensors on board that would avoid collision, sense wind direction and power.
- Protei 6
(Showing the 3d model) The next step is to build at full scale to test Protei in real conditions. We are working together on the design and engineering of a green revolutionary technology. Work with us!
== Process ==
Protei is being developed as Open Hardware, so anyone can use, modify and distribute our technology for free.
Oil spills are happening all the time everywhere in the world.
In many places people don't have the technology to address oil spills yet.
We need a technology that people can adapt to their needs and resources.
Protei is being developed collaboratively to be inexpensive and easy to build from well established efficient techniques.
If we have many, a fleet of Protei could work automatically as a swarm, or be remotely controlled by on-line gamers.
Beyond Oil Spills, Protei would be suitable for collecting plastic debris in the ocean and many other ocean research applications.
We are confident this Open Hardware technology will contribute to ocean study and cleaning.
Please, help us build our next Protei prototypes.