Manta Boat: the Sea Cleaners

Innovation created by: The Sea Cleaners

Presentation written by: Jérémie Borlet,

Presentation supervised by: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elena M. BARBU,



An old sailor made an alarming observation while competing in the famous “Transat Jacques Vabre” boat race. He had a head-on collision in open sea with a giant container and was forced to abandon the race. During his last world tour, he was shocked by the amount of pollution found in the ocean.

Based on his observation and tragic accident, he decided to do something for Planet Earth.

He created an association called ‘’The Sea Cleaners’’ and dedicated himself to ocean pollution reduction.

The best way to decrease ocean pollution is to decrease the amount of pollution put in the ocean beforehand.

Studies don’t show improvements of this in the next decade. So, the challenge is to decrease it directly in the ocean.

Every year, between 8 and 10 million tons of plastic is discharged in the ocean. One bottle in the ocean can take up to 450 years to deteriorate.

One part of the plastic waste is transformed into micro waste (less than 5 cm) and the other into nano waste.

The problem lies initially with nano waste. Nano waste is consumed by marine organisms. This cycle impacts the entire food chain including the final link, Humans.

If we continue like this, in 2050 there will be more waste than fish in our oceans.


2. The innovation

This innovative project suggests creating a cleaning boat for the ocean.

It will be called “Le Manta” in correlation to the species of stingrays that filter water.

The boat will be able to run on renewable energy created by the waste it initially picked up.

The engineering of this project is focused on the production of energy from waste.


The propulsion of the boat will focus on minimizing its carbon footprint on the ocean. Some studies suggest adding a “kite wing” with normal sails, or electric motors ran by solar panels and hydrogen. Lastly, making energy from waste.

The first project is a boat of 60 meters long, 72 meters wide and a waste collector inspired by a whale’s baleen.

Capable of collecting up to 300 cubic meters of plastic per trip, it will be able to move very quickly on the ocean’s most critical areas such as: pollution from concentrated areas by currents, or from a natural disasters (tsunami, flood, cyclone, etc.).

With two months autonomy, its tanks can hold up to 300 cubic meters of plastic, sorted and compressed, for recycling or land reclamation.


3. Waste Collection

Waste Collection has encountered some challenges on the boat’s design. Design teams are working on an effective solution to collect waste.

The width of the boat will be a contributing factor. The efficiency of the boat will be dependent upon the capacity to treat the waste quickly with a huge amount of waste concentrated in the same area of the ocean.

Then provide a disposal that doesn’t suck too much water, to avoid accidental fishing. Also, sound engineers are working on electronic sounds that would scare away underwater wildlife.


4. Data

The boat will also be a scientific experiment. It will collect a lot of data for the scientific community.

The data of geolocation, quantification and qualification of waste will be given to scientists. It will help the scientific community gather the first observations made offshore and other data produced by sampling in oceanic gyres.


5. Financing 

The first studies were self-financed. The project is now viable and recognized by all as a true trigger to concrete results on the field. Now they need to get the project on track and take it to the water to clean the ocean.

A participating found raising had been made during COP22 in Marakech and succeed to collect 151.585 euros in 2 months.

Figure 1 : Sea Cleaner’s Fundraise

  • With 100 000€ = finance 50% of the prototype catamaran
  • With 120 000€ = finance 100% of the prototype catamaran
  • With 150 000€ = finance 100% of the collecting system prototype


6. Future Project

  • 2017-18 In depth studies / Research patrons
  • 2019-20 Construction of the first ship MANTA

2021 Starting the first ocean-waste collection campaign with MANTA