Plastic Initiative

In 2017, PGS launched a concept for collecting plastics at sea that uses the inherent capabilities of seismic vessels. We then commissioned a desktop review by an independent consultant of the potential and feasibility of the concept, using funds received from the Norwegian development and investment bank ‘Innovation Norway’.

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The results of the feasibility study were published in Q3 2018. The report concludes that pelagic microplastic densities are too low for surface plastic collection to be efficient on the open ocean, but densities may be higher in certain areas or during certain seasons, or during flush-out events.

Synthesis and modeling studies have identified areas in which plastic could be available in high densities, due to the likelihood of high input flows from runoff and rivers during wet seasons. These include the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the West Coast of Africa around the north Atlantic Margin.

PGS is now progressing with a more detailed technical study that will include theoretical engineering and hydrodynamics considerations. Discussions are ongoing with potential partners and suppliers for the boom arrangement, bubble curtain, and collection unit.

Our next step will be to seek funding to conduct a full-scale pilot test offshore, over a period of approximately two months in either the Atlantic or the Caribbean. Academic institutions will be invited to join us, using our vessel for the duration of the pilot to conduct relevant research on plastic pollution in the oceans.