A new system has been created that greatly simplifies the process of removing dead seaweed from beaches and converting it to biomass.
The system, created by researchers at the University of Alicante, is considerably cheaper and more efficient than the methods currently in use. And perhaps more importantly, the new system doesn’t degrade the beaches via the removal of large quantities of sand.
As a result of the new system, more than 80% of the weight and volume that is currently removed as a result of the systems that are in use can stay on the beach. All that will be removed is the condensed and clean dry seaweed. As of now, large quantities of sand and seaweed water are removed from beaches and then sent to landfills and treatments plants — a highly inefficient system, and one that leads to the degradation of beaches over time.
The new system involves three distinct steps — washing, drying, and compacting — all of which are done right there on the beach with the help of solar energy.
The press release from the University of Alicante goes into the specifics:
The system is based on a moving platform with wheels where three hoppers are installed. The first receives shovelfuls of wet seaweed with sand attached. Seawater is pumped in and poured back into the sea dragging the sand with it. In the next hopper, water purified with a solar-powered device would wash most of the residual salt from the algae, and in the third hopper it would be dried with air heated also by solar energy. The clean and dry seaweed could be then pressed by a system similar to the one used by rubbish trucks or converted into bales or pellets, ready to be commercialized. No chemical products would be used in the process.
The new system will be a significant improvement over the one currently used, and should do a great deal to slow down the deterioration of beaches in the regions where it will be used, along with limiting the need for expensive and environmentally destructive beach restoration/dredging.
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