By now, we all know that there is a plastic problem But there is a difference between knowing and actually doing something about it. In Future Talks I follow people who are working on their idea. My friend Rinze is a real Dutch guy wiht a no nonsense approach. Together with his businessparter Arnoud they are designing and building a machine to
get plastic out of the water. It’s August 30th 2019 I’m here in Rotterdam, at the Rotterdam Harbor.
At the Aqualab. A friend of mine is working on this machine. It all begins with the way I grew up. I grew up in Friesland. I’m a real down to earth Frysian…or Dutch.
However you want to see it. You could always find me on the water I was water skiing, surfing, sailing, swimming… and later on also Kitesurfing That is what I really enjoy And when you’re in nature, you want it to be clean. To be one with nature. And plastic waste can be a nuisance. I read about a contest of the
Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier The Water Board in Noord-Holland They had the question: how can we prevent
that plastic from our rivers reaches the oceans through our pumping stations. Those pumping stations have special racks with 10cm gaps in between. That will prevent all large pieces of rubbish from passing through. Big pieces of wood, trees, and crates. The problem is that bottles, plastic bags, and
smaller pieces of plastic all pass through. Those gaps are necessary for the fish to pass through. That’s why they have the 10cm gap. So they asked the question, how can we prevent that
plastic from reaching the North Sea Withouth bothering the fish, And sustainable if possible. So I started thinking to use our ancient Dutch techniques of
mills pumping out polders. So you have water weels that pump water up. I wanted to use those in contra direction. So the stream makes the water weels turn around Through a mechanism, an arm can
turn in the opposite direction One meter below water level, the arm can take
plastic out of the water. Which will fall in a hollow axis after which it will be transported to the side,
to a garbage container. That container can be picked up once
or twice a month. Just the same as with the rubbish
disposal in residential areas. After I graduated, I worked at an
Engineering company. On the one hand I enjoy the work as a challenge. However, at an engineering company your mostly
busy with creating revenue for the whole business. You just have to do your job, after which
you continue to the next. With this I’m constantly occupied with innovation. With sustainability aspects. And making the world a bit better. So every day is a joy to get back to work. So, that’s a clear difference between working at
an Engineering company and your own start-up. It’s not a decision you make from one day to another.
You have to think clearly about it. Because you will have to sacrifice quite a bit. If you look at the risks.
The moment something will go wrong… then I can always look for a job and
still have a unique experience. And in no time I can have a job again and
get back to work. So if you look at it that way,
the risk is low. – So it depends on how you define risk. – Yes, chance creates effect. You see, the chance that it fails is
not in my control. Ofcourse I hope the chance it fails is 0%. – You might be able to influence the chance,
but it will always play a part in your success. And the consequences, if it fails, are limited for me. So in that way, risk is minimal. When you start developing things you already know that,
there will be lessons you will learn. You will have to test things. The first version was with Solex rims some wood from the DIY store, chicken wire in
a frame which I built myself. The first prototype was just a square,
which let the plastic pass on the side so I need a U-shaped mechanism. Those are examples of simple ascpects
that you learn. Just do it. Don’t think too much about it. You just have to try, experiment and see how it works. That’s how it works best for me. In an ideal situation, what I think is realistic
at the moment, is that by next summer we can have our first system operating.
Somewhere in the Netherlands. That will allow us to further develop the system. And hopefully we can operate accross the
borders in two or three years. Preferrably as quickly as possible to countries
as Indonesia, Brazil and India. In those areas the problems are much greater And we design our system in a way that
it will be able to operate in those areas. This is prototype 001 which is still powered by an electic source. When we know how much force the machine has to endure then we will know how much power we need
to operate the machine. Then we wil be able to design the water wheel. This is a farily small model. It will need
to be a lot wider. In the corner of rivers it will be closer
to five or six meters wide. – I didn’t know it will be this big. Behind a pump station it could be 10 to 15 meters wide. We have been busy testing.
Yesterday we had some difficulties. Today everything went well.
We first set up the current. Finally we had 98% positive test result of
plastic that we were able to remove. So that feels good. – What was your aim? – We didn’t have a real goal, but
hoped for 70% or more. Because there are still a lot of
adjustments we have to make. Which we will implement in the following weeks. However, the way things are now are better than we expected.
So, that feels good. – So next up is a test outdoors? – In four weeks we will test in the Maas with
Rijkswaterstaat, at Borgharen. That will take three days. In October we will test at the Zuid-Holland province. In Gouda, we will test under a railway bridge. There we will let the machine run for a week. We won’t be throwing in plastic for the test We will try to catch all plastic floating in nature to see how much plastic we can remove. – So that will be a long term test. – Yes, one week.