The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, honored today (January 9, 2019) with the National Order of Merit in the rank of great commander the Ecuadorian engineer Inty Gronneberg, who invented a turbine to collect plastics from water.
For his invention, the Ecuadorian was recognized as “inventor of the year” by the MIT Technology Review. In the decree signed by Moreno for the decoration, he points out that Gronneberg was awarded for the creation of a turbine “capable of storing up to 80 tons of plastic garbage per day in river basins.”
He adds that the Ecuadorian, with his effort and dedication, has become one of the “Innovators under 35 Latin America 2018 MIT Technology in Spanish”. The inventor left “up the name of Ecuador with a work worthy of praise and example for present and future generations,” says the decree. It is the duty of the State – he adds – to recognize the merits and to exalt the virtues of the people who, like Gronneberg, have dedicated their effort and work to the service and prestige of the country.
On its website, MIT Technology Review notes that plastic pollution has a new enemy: turbines capable of collecting up to 80 tons a day in rivers. The seas and oceans have become a great dumping ground to which humanity throws tons of plastic waste that accumulate and impact the life of aquatic fauna, he reflects.
Even if the user deposits a plastic bottle in the appropriate recycling container, it can end up in the sea, whole or crushed in infinity of tiny fragments, by the action of wind and rain, he adds. And because of the seriousness of the problem, the Ecuadorian, with a family of Norwegian origin and living in the United Kingdom, is committed to take action and start collecting the plastic waste from the water before it reaches the sea.
For this he created Ichthion (formerly Remora Marine), a company that develops several types of turbines capable of filtering and collecting plastics of different sizes present in river waters to prevent them from ending up in the oceans.
“The problem is the lack of recycling technologies in less developed areas of Asia, which is why there are so many plastics that go from landfills to rivers and then to the sea,” the inventor explained.
And their solution was turbines that can be installed aboard the boats that run these rivers so that, while they carry out their usual work, they will clean the plastic waste in suspension present in the waterway. “The idea is that it is not necessary to develop specific infrastructures but to take advantage of the use of the maximum number of existing vessels,” he concludes. (I)