Cleaning the river and harbour of Rotterdam with catamaran drones


Port of Rotterdam XL cleaning robot by Ranmarine


CATAMARAN - A basic twin hull configuration with a metal wire basket to collect larger solids that are floating in the harbour of Rotterdam. The design is more Mantaray than Shark in our view, as this is a filter feeder, not a biting or shredding machine. We like the simplicity of the twin shrouded propellers that are used to steer the boat by varying the speed, much the same as employed on the AmphiMax™ virtual shipyard. Kort nozzles improve the efficiency of propellers by up to 15%. Contra-rotating propellers are even more efficient at converting rotary blade (or wing) movement in water into propulsive thrust, but the expense is so much more that only torpedoes and submarines use such technology routinely. Fixed stator blades are a stage in the middle, and also help to contain swirl that wastes energy.




The city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands has just launched a new type of water drone that is capable of autonomously patrolling the city’s port and cleaning up waste and debris as it goes.

Rotterdam is one of the most important port locations in Europe, situated at the mouth of several of the continent’s largest rivers. The most important of these is the Rhein, which allows ships to transport cargo to and from some of the most industrialized regions of Europe. Because of the enormous volume of ships moving through Rotterdam, the city’s port is having a difficult time dealing with waterborne waste, which is where its new “Waste Shark” drone comes in.

Designed by RanMarine Technology through Dutch port accelerator PortXL, the Waste Shark is large drone with an underwater “mouth” capable of gobbling up 500 kilograms of waste (around 1120 pounds) before needing to deposit it elsewhere for processing.

In addition to collecting waste, Waste Shark also sends back valuable data to port authorities, including information on the quality of the water, the weather, and the depth of the harbor. According to RanMarine, the drone is capable of learning about its environment over time, becoming smart and more efficient at creating routes the longer it is in the water.



Drone harbour cleaner robot based on a catamaran hull  Waste Shark by RanMarine being inspected by Swans




Keeping the Port of Rotterdam clean is certainly difficult and will likely require more than a single drone to deal with, but keeping the oceans them themselves clean is exponentially more challenging for a number of reasons, particularly the sheer amount of space that must be covered.


All rivers eventually make their way to the ocean, which means that any waste found in those rivers is ultimately deposited somewhere at sea. Due to water currents and wind patterns, much of this trash accumulates in certain parts of the ocean, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive stretch of waterborne waste that is estimated to cover an area of hundreds of thousands or even millions of square miles.

“Humans are very good at forgetting where waste truly ends up,” said Richard Hardiman, chief executive of RanMarine. “It if it’s not going into some landfill somewhere then odds are it has ended up in a storm-water drain, river or outlet and then off into the ocean never to be seen again; by humans that is. The impact of plastic soup and these huge plastic islands out in the Pacific ocean and elsewhere cannot be underestimated.”

Hardiman noted that waste is more than an ecological problem: It’s also a problem for businesses.

“I am not sure that the idea [for Waste Shark] was born out of being ecologically minded,” Hardiman said. “It was more of a case of seeing how harbors and marine waste management currently deal with the problem and seeing that there had to be a more effective and efficient way of solving it. The end result, of course, is a greener planet but to make it sustainable as an idea it needs to parallel good business.”

RanMarine hopes that the success of Waste Shark will prove that drones can be a viable solution for dealing with water waste, allowing thousands more like it to be created and deployed across the globe.


By Eric David







Drones are adding functionality to our everyday lives, and automation is here to help humanity whether we’re ready for it or not. In a clever combination of the two, [Richard Hardiman] of RanMarine has developed small drone-boats that scoop up garbage from the ocean — he calls them ‘Waste Sharks.’

The two models — slim and fatboy — aim to collect up to 1,100 pounds of garbage apiece in the ‘mouths’ just below the water’s surface. The Waste Sharks are still restricted to remote control and are only autonomous when traveling between waypoints, but one can see how this technology could evolve into the “Wall-E of water.”

Before tackling the task of cleaning the world’s oceans — namely the great pacific garbage patch — [Hardiman] aims to first tidy up the ports, waterways and canals of our cities. So, Waste Shark is presently being tested until the end of the year cleaning up the Port of Rotterdam.








The ocean collects garbage. Not in any discerning, connoisseurial way--no, the ocean collects garbage with the enthusiasm of a hoarder, taking all trash put into it and holding on to it forever. To clean up a small part of this trash, Richard Hardiman of RanMarine us using small robots in Rotterdam that catch garbage before it works its way across the sea and into a great garbage patch.

Hardiman’s weapons of choice are robots called “Waste Sharks,” and they come in both "Slim" and "Fatboy" models. Here, the Slim version of the Waste Shark eats an orange.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority’s Port Waste Catch is sponsoring the project until the end of the year, with four Waste Sharks swimming around. Each can collect up to 1,100 pounds of waste in its open mouth, that extends a foot below the ocean's surface. Here’s a larger version, dubbed “Fatboy.”

If they work, the Waste Sharks can join the long line of robots picking up humanity’s waste. On RanMarine’s site, Hardiman refers to the Waste Sharks as the “Wall-E of water,” referencing the iconic Pixar film about a robot cleaning up earth after all the humans have left. Waste Shark, at least, has a head-start.

By Kelsey D. Atherton 




AquaSmart XL port of Rotterdam, Netherlands





The Waste Shark is about the size of a passenger car and can vacuum up 1,100 pounds of floating trash. Because it can work 24/7, it’s incredibly efficient…

Thanks to the intelligent use of technology, the world’s oceans are already getting a little bit cleaner. This is great news, considering that at present, the world’s oceans are ridden with pollution which kills approximately 1 million seabirds, 300,000 dolphins and porpoises, and 100,000 sea mammals every year.

The Waste Shark is a small aquatic drone that is capable of vacuuming up 1,100 pounds of floating trash. Designed by Richard Hardiman of RanMarine, it’s basically like a Roomba for the ocean. Popular Science reports that the drone has officially embarked upon its first mission: To pick up trash in the waters around Rotterdam before it makes it way out to sea.

The inventor gifted four Waste Shark prototypes to the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the Netherlands. For the next year, the drones will patrol the waters and collect waste to help improve the state of the environment. As Conserve-Energy-Future shares, more innovations with similar application need to be utilized – and soon, because of the amount of trash which is circulating in the waters and affecting wildlife. In the Pacific Ocean, for example, there is an island of trash twice the size of Texas which contains items incapable of breaking down for thousands of years…

Hopefully, the growth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will decrease as Waste Sharks are put to work in bodies of water around the world. Each drone is approximately the size of a passenger car and picks up trash in a 14-inch “mouth” that extends below the water’s surface. Being autonomous, they’re able to patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week without oversight.

It is Hardiman’s hope that the Waste Sharks eventually help make ocean trash a thing of the past (what a concept!). He explained in a statement:

“It may sound like a strange thing to say for an entrepreneur, but my mission will only truly be accomplished when I’m ‘out of business.’”



Feeding the world with a growing population is a major challenge that lies ahead




“It may sound like a strange thing to say for an entrepreneur, but my mission will only truly be accomplished when I’m ‘out of business’,” says Richard Hardiman, CEO of RanMarine. With his ‘Waste Sharks’, Hardiman hopes to help clean up the mass of ‘plastic soup’ suspended in the world’s oceans.


During Shakedown, PortXL’s grand finale, Hardiman signed a pilot contract with the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Over the next six months, four Waste Sharks will be ‘gobbling up’ the litter floating around in Rotterdam’s port basins. This system has been included in the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s Port Waste Catch project. The Port Authority will handle the further support of the pilot project.



PortXL is the start-up accelerator programme for port innovators in Rotterdam. During the Shakedown event on 30 June, twelve selected start-ups presented the fruits of 100 days of ‘business building’ together with a team of mentors, partners and experts. RanMarine was one of the participating firms.


Open mouth

What makes Hardiman’s invention particularly ingenious is that his ‘shark’ can be deployed 24/7. The device – which is the size of a regular passenger’s car – has an ‘open mouth’ located 35 cm below the water surface, which can collect some 500 kg of the waste in the water.



Beach cleaning parties are helping to stave off the build up of ocean plastic


VOLUNTEER SAILORS - Beach cleaning parties like the one seen above are helping to slow the build up of plastic on our ocean floors. The only real solution is to stop using plastic, or to make recycling efforts really slick - something for our Governments to think on. Another way to help the situation is to deploy really large ocean going drones to capture the waste that inevitably escaped the net. Once such solution is called SeaVax and is one of the projects that the Cleaner Oceans Foundation are supporting. The Waste Shark is another great idea that if deployed effectively cannot but help to keep make our oceans cleaner. We say cleaner, rather than clean, because it is difficult at this time to be able to say at what level of contamination we might declare the oceans fit for marine life.




The Waste Shark is like a Roomba for the ocean. A small aquatic drone that can vacuum up 1100 pounds of floating trash, the Waste Shark was designed by Richard Hardiman of RanMarine to keep the Earth’s oceans clean. Now, Popular Science reports, it’s embarking on its first official mission: To pick up trash in the waters around Rotterdam before it travels too far out to sea.

Hardiman is providing the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the Netherlands with four Waste Shark prototypes, which will patrol Rotterdam’s waters through the end of the year. The sharks, which are approximately the size of a passenger car, pick up trash in a 14-inch "mouth" that extends below the surface of the water. They're autonomous, which means they're able to patrol for trash 24/7 without oversight.

Hardiman hopes that the Waste Sharks could eventually help make ocean trash a thing of the past. In a statement he explained, "It may sound like a strange thing to say for an entrepreneur, but my mission will only truly be accomplished when I’m 'out of business.'"





Q: Does the Shark Washes eat fish and other small animals.


A: No. Much like there are very few reports or fishbone "run over" by sailing boats, the fish gene rally swim away from the vessel. Birds also have the same reaction to the craft and react to it like most other vessels in the water ! a caveat to this: If we do start catching fish we just May pivot into the fishing industry.


Q: The vessel in the pictures looks too small to collect 500kg of trash.


A: You would be right, this is the smaller version with a lower payload that's present in testing at. our Great Waste Shark will be editable to collect a far higher payload with 500kg being our goal.


Q: What do you do with all the trash? 


A: We work within the collection and hand over stretch of the circular economy; . as a business, we have to make a call as to where we stop and hand over to the next business to be everything to everyone quickly land you in hot water, if you will excuse the pun. So we work with partners in the recycling industries to take our trash and plastics, sort through it and recycle it, its the part of the economy that they do best, we are just a supplier.


Q: Why drones? Surely there are lots of These types of initiatives?


A : There are a number of initiatives That do an amazing job at cleaning up water all around the globe; However its not enough, if it was we would not have the pollution problem we have. we focus at what we call "at source"; our belief is that if you focus on where the majority of the plastic is coming from then we will start to strangle the feed That ends up in our oceans. Much like you vacuum continuously to clean your house of dust before it builds up, we want to efficiently and continuously "vacuum" or water, So THAT a build up of plastics never actually occurs.


Q: Why not concentrate on education rather than cleaning up?


A: Again, we have to chose where we pitch ourselves. we are a business ; if we were environmental crusaders alone, we would then need to rely on grants, donations and public funds-which does not give much of a life span to a project and it is hard to fight for.


We are business people and do see a value in what we are doing, not only financially but for shareholders also very much for our planet. if we can make a profit in order to keep cleaning up even more then we are happy.


We would be even happier if we were put out of business Because there was no more trash to collect. That would be the ultimate win. 


We Hope that through what we do and our education and how we do it not only can we Promote the awareness that this issue so desperately needs but useful encouragement young innovators to come up with their own ideas and creative solutions.


Q: is is just a robotic vacuum cleaner for the water?


A: Yes as much as the shark swims Wash cleans and we make no bones about the simplicity our units. Of course there is a large amount of technology behind that simplicity but we are a company that believes in simplicity first.


How do you solve a problem without over engineering it; we use few moving parts and are creating a system that's automated to be more efficient. 


Q: Will not it get in the way and sink other ships?


A: we are David to Goliath in the sense That we are taking on a huge problem, However When it Comes to a Wastewater vs. Shark an oil tanker the tanker wins every time. It's Important to remember we only operate where trash is gene rally known to collect in harbours, rivers and canals; this is based on known "waste chokeholds" based on tides, weather patters, wind and shipping movements .


All of this tells us predominantly where we can find the trash. We do not operate in major shipping lanes, in an uncoordinated and indiscriminate manner in high traffic areas and we make sure we are always efficient with how we deploy.


Added to this our drones are visible to shipping traffic in line with maritime laws, They are sentient and the last thing we want is a dead drone with waste everywhere ... we are rather fond and protective of them you see. 


Q: What about the gyres plastic and islands?


A: There are amazing projects and ideas happening right now to start dealing with this massive problem, However again we have very deliberately chosen to act at source. axis long as we ignore where the trash comes from the gyres will be a continuous and ever growing problem.


We aim to start putting a dent in that problem by stopping it at source. 







There is no postal address, email or telephone number on the RanMarine website. There is a page where you can fill in your details and message the company. Click on the logo above to visit their official website.



Operation SeaNet poster surfing babe tangled up in plastic trash


IT'S NOT SPORTING - It could soon be dangerous to swim in a sea filled with toxic plastic waste. Ocean ally, Bluebird Marine Systems is pioneering eco robots that can vacuum up plastic waste and offload while at sea, by coupling with a converted bulk carrier called a PlastiMax.
























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