A German-based non-profit environmental organization has introduced the first “SeeElefant”, a converted multi-purpose freighter that will have from 2026 systems for sorting, shredding, processing and pressing marine waste on board.
SeeElefant will be the first pilot system for a waste recycling ship and will make a substantial contribution to the elimination of plastic waste on coasts and beaches.
One Earth-One Ocean (oeoo) received “approval in principle” certificate from class society Bureau Veritas for the planned waste recycling vessel SeeElefant, which will be ready for its first trials in 2026.
The development team led by oeoo CEO Günther Bonin presented the initial design of the bulk carrier, automatic plastic sorting system and waste-to-energy system back in spring.
With a daily processing capacity of 200 tons of plastic waste from waterways and households, the SeeElefant is a pilot system that “can work perfectly”, as the organization notes, in the coastal waters off metropolitan regions due to its easy scalability and mobility in order to effectively counteract the global flood of plastic on a regional level.
The next step now is to establish the overall financing of €50m for the first recycling ship, from subsidies from the “Green Deal”/European Innovation Fund and customized loans from European development banks.
Further funds from the German shipyard subsidy program “Innovative shipbuilding secures jobs” can be integrated, as One Earth-One Ocean reports.
Günther Bonin, oeoo founder, said: “We are already thinking about scaling up the SeeElefant systems in order to make an effective contribution to reducing plastic waste and boosting recycling,” adding that “This requires further technical and financial partners, particularly from industry, who want to drive this project forward together with us.”
Rolf Stiefel, head of Central Europe at BV, explained: “The SeeElefant has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the elimination of plastic waste on coasts and beaches. As a classification society, we are delighted to be involved in this pioneering project from the very beginning.”