SeaVax blue growth ocean cleaning technology


OCEAN CONDITIONER - This vessel is designed to operate in fleets to target ocean waste before it settles on the ocean floor where nobody can recover it. There is nothing like it in existence today. The concept relies on solar and wind power working in tandem. This is part of the challenge for the SeaVax team, in collaboration with academia and (we hope) corporations who want to help us make a difference.



ROBOTIC TRACKING SYSTEM - Wind generators at sea work much better when raised into the faster moving air higher above sea level, and above deck obstructions. This is known to all sailors and that is why sailing ships were called "Tall Ships." The taller the mast, the more speed for the boat.


The basic premise of a SeaVax like concept is using solar and wind power together in such a way that the primary energy source, solar power, is not shaded by the secondary energy source: wind power.


The problem then is how to raise high speed revolving blades into the faster moving air higher up away from the solar panels, and still be safe and in control? The question of how much of an advantage this might be below 80 meters on the sea can only be answered by practical trials. For a fleet of SeaVax, it is thought that the percentage gains will provide significantly more cleaning ability on average. 


The Cleaner Ocean Foundation consider this to be cornerstone technology in the race to zero carbon shipping - in this case as applied to the SeaVax ocean cleaning machine and other water transports, such as the Elizabeth Swan. Zero carbon workboats make ocean cleaning a possibility. Whereas, attempting to clean oceans using diesel fuels is thought to be counter productive, where such activities would then add to climate change.




We needed a convenient and cost effective land based vehicle on which to develop a prototype system, before proceeding to trials at sea. We decided to mount a test rig on a Ford Transit (FT) that also doubles as one of our ocean awareness support vehicles. It's a great shame that there are no reasonably priced electric vans, where this rig is likely to harvest 110kW/hrs each week, subject to location, testing and verification.



RAISED & FURLED VERSION 1 - This diagram shows a proposed test rig in draft form fitted to a transit van. We've made sure that the same rig will fit onto our Jeep (beach buggy) and will transpose to a quarter scale floating test rig that we hope to be able to float in 2020 - subject to funding. Note the height difference when raised and furled. We are hoping for significant gains in generating output from this robotic system. Copyright diagrams © 9 February 2019 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd. All rights reserved, save for educational and research purposes.




PLAN VIEW VERSION 1 - This diagram shows 12 solar panels mounted on a specially built roof-rack type frame. Copyright diagrams © 9 February 2019 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd. All rights reserved, save for educational and research purposes.



This is all theory at the moment, there's a lot of work to do proving the robotics and hydraulic mechanicals. You can see how the design came off the drawing board in its original form and changed as practical problems surfaced, such as which end of the Transit to have the turbines. We started with them at the rear of the van, then changed to the front for (road) safety reasons. That is what tends to happen when an idea begins to be developed, all manner of practical issues come to the fore to help you make decisions that you could not possibly have thought about before getting your hands dirty.


The FT will be equipped with two 400 watt wind turbines and twelve 150 watt solar panels, to give us 2,600 watts, feeding four 110 AH deep cycle (lead-avid) leisure batteries.




DONOR VEHICLE - This is the basic Ford Transit, as themed for awareness logistical support in 2018 by marine biologist, Emily Hoad. Copyright © photograph Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd. All rights reserved, save for educational and research purposes.



Lolita D'Ortona working at the Cleaner Ocean Foundation in March 2019


CAD - Hard at work designing the framework that will lift two 400w wind turbines roughly 3 meters higher into the air to search for more energy. Lolita D'Ortona uses computer aided design software to build the steel structure in 3D for mechanical visualization of the movement and for stressing in different materials if need be. Copyright © photographs, February and March 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.



VERSION 2, SOLAR PANELS - The wind turbines operate in conjunction with solar panels arrays as two wings and a central deck. The solar wings can track the sun and fold over for safe storage when weather conditions are unfavourable. Copyright © diagrams, February and March 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.


Ford Transit van mobile wind turbine test rig


VERSION 2, MAST & BOOM - In this diagram you can see the boom raised a little over three meters where the twin turbines should be operating in clean air. Copyright © diagrams, February and March 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.



Once the mechanics of the lifting mechanism is in place as a roof mounted frame, mast and boom, we need to install hydraulic rams to provide sufficient grunt to hoist the wind turbines into the air. This means using electro-hydraulic pumps to power the rams and control valves to divert the hydraulic fluid to the appropriate rams on command, via solenoid operated valves that are switched by relays. All of that controlled by a micro computer.


The commands will depend on sensors that will determine if the wind speed is high enough to warrant lift, or if the wind speed in too high, meaning that lowering of the boom will be needed to protect the wind turbines from over running that could damage the blades and burn out the generator coils.




CAD 3D SCREENSHOT - The latest computer design software allows a designer to produce a virtual product, then test the movement and calculate the material sections in relation to the loads in operation. The point loads to cope with will be at the two shaft bearings of the wind turbines, that are not shown in this diagram. Those forces will dissipate through the mounting tubes to the boom and then via the mast to the roof mounted frame. Copyright © drawing 7 March 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.




RESEARCH - Out and about getting a feel for the higher wind speeds that SeaVax will have to cope with when blue water cruising, Lolita visited Newhaven Harbour on the English coast on a blustery day when the wind speeds on the harbour jetty end were quite lively. A number of cross-channel ferries operate from this busy port. Copyright © photograph March 9 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.





WHAT NEXT - The test rig we hope to complete in 2019 can be taken off the Ford Transit and bolted straight onto a 1:4 scale model for use in sweeping our shores to reduce plastic waste. This coastal development stage could also be used for cleaning rivers such as the Ouse at Newhaven. Note that the height of the wind turbines is above the height of a person when raised. They are also far away from the deck and helm areas. Copyright © diagram March 6 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.




HYDRAULICS - 12V DC Double Acting, Double Solenoid Hydraulic Power Pack designed to operate two double acting cylinders independently on a variety of applications, complete with four button pendent on a 4 meter lead. This unit combines a 2.1cc/rev gear pump with a 1.6kw electric motor with relays and plastic motor cover. There are 4.5, 8.0, 11 or 13 Litre reservoirs with a drain plug. The reservoir feeds via a suction strainer, return oil conveyor and filler breather.

Designed for horizontal mounting, the maximum working pressure is 200 bar with a relief valve set at 160 bar, adjustable from 40-200 bar. The maximum flow rate is 5 litres/minute, with a relief valve. The port size is 3/8" BSP

Such pumps require a high capacity battery and suitable in-line fuse. The motor is designed for intermittent use (S3) which is defined as a sequence of identical cycles of 10 minute duration. The cycle comprises a period of on-load (td) operation in which the motor may reach its maximum permitted temperature, followed by an off-load (tm) of time, insufficient for the motor to return to ambient temperature.




BEARINGS - We had to decide between phosphor-bronze and balls bearings for the wind turbine masts, with the bronze being lighter and less expensive, but likely to wear quicker. The alternative ball bearing unit weighs more where it counts aloft, but may be worth the extra in return for a longer working life and more responsive wind tracking.




CHAINS AND SPROCKETS - A very efficient and low cost way of transferring movement is using chains. They are manufactured in a variety of sizes off the shelf. We will be using chain drive to synchronize wind turbine position to limit interference, though some trailing and leading is inevitable at certain headings.





REINFORCING - The loading at the front of the Ford Transit roof needed the addition of internal bracing as a frame to transfer the loads from the hydraulic rams to the chassis of the van, without which the roof would surely crumple. The steel roof frame sits on top of plywood pads to act as soft seat buffer. Inside the van we need to make a steel frame to take the loads of two hydraulic rams that will go through the roof, to lift the mast. We'll worry about waterproofing the opening later. Copyright © diagrams March 12 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.



Ford Transit roof mounted plywood pads


PLYWOOD - One of the plywood buffers screwed into position. The steel frame will bolt through this wood proceeding through another timber plank underneath and inside the van. The plywood has been soaked with several applications of wood preservative. Copyright © photographs March 12 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.



Ford Transit van roof marked out to accept the steel framework


MARKING OUT - In this picture you can see how the roof was marked out with felt-tip pen. The crosses on the roof must line up with the crosses on each plywood pad. The marking and fixing was accomplished in some very blustery and wet conditions for this time of year.  Copyright © photographs March 12 2019. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.





Wind speed increases as the height from the ground increases, mainly due to the decrease in the friction produced by land terrain deflections altering direction. As friction increases, wind loses its kinetic energy in overcoming the friction and decreases speed. Whereas the higher one goes, the friction decreases significantly making the winds flow free of interference. Generally, wind blows over the sea at higher speeds than over land.

Wind velocity is a function of pressure gradient, centrifugal force, friction, and the Coriolis effect from the earth’s rotation. Friction is only important near the surface.


Centrifugal force is relatively minor in large-scale motions. The pressure gradient is usually dominant. In geostrophic wind equations (assuming balance between PG and Coriolis), the pressure gradient is divided by density, which decreases with height.


At sea level, air density is roughly 1 kg/m3. At around 5.5 km above sea level air density is 0.5 kg/m3. Since the PG is being divided by density, you get twice the velocity at 5.5 km altitude with the same pressure gradient.


Wind speeds don’t continue to increase with height all the way to space because the pressure gradient begins to relax in the stratosphere as you get far above the surface influences that drive weather.





TRL 1 - TRL 2 - TRL 3 - TRL 4 - TRL 5 - TRL 6 - TRL 7 - TRL 8 - TRL 9 - TRL 10


TRL SCALE - The TRL scale is a metric for describing the maturity of a technology. The acronym stands for Technology Readiness Level. The scale consists of 9 levels. Each level characterises the progress in the development of a technology, from the idea (level 1) to the full deployment of the product in the marketplace after level 9.



In one study by Cristina L. Archer (carcher@UDel.Edu) and Mark Z. Jacobson ( to quantify the worlds wind power potential using 80 meters as a viable wind energy collection height, the researchers concluded that even if only ~20% of the available global wind power could be captured, it could satisfy 100% of the worlds energy demand for all purposes and over seven times the world's electricity needs (1.6-1.8 TW).




1. Approximately 13% of all stations worldwide belong to class 3 or greater (i.e., annual mean wind speed ≥ 6.9 m/s at 80 m) and are therefore suitable for wind power generation. This estimate is conservative, since the application of the LS methodology to tower data from the Kennedy Space Center exhibited an average underestimate of -3.0 and -19.8% for sounding and surface stations respectively. In addition, wind power potential in all areas for which previous studies had been published was underestimated in this study.

2. The average calculated 80-m wind speed was 4.59 m/s (class 1) when all stations are included; if only stations in class 3 or higher are counted, the average was 8.44 m/s (class 5). For comparison, the average observed 10-m wind speed from all stations was 3.31 m/s (class 1) and from class ge 3 stations was 6.53 m/s (class 6).

3. Europe and North America have the greatest number of stations in class = 3 (307 and 453, respectively), whereas Oceania and Antarctica have the greatest percentage (21 and 60%, respectively). Areas with strong wind power potential were found in Northern Europe along the North Sea, the southern tip of the South American continent, the island of Tasmania in Australia, the Great Lakes region, and the northeastern and western coasts of Canada and the United States.

4. Offshore stations experience mean wind speeds at 80 m that are ~90% greater than over land on average.

5. The Least Square methodology generally performed better against sounding data than did the log- and the power-laws with constant coefficients (a=1/7 and z0=0.01 m). Wind speed values predicted with the Least Square methodology were generally greater than those predicted with the constant-coefficients curves (with the exception of the linear profile, which by design predicts lower values than the constant-coefficient curves).

6. The globally-averaged values of the friction coefficient a and the roughness length z0 are 0.23-0.26 and 0.63-0.81 m, respectively. Both ranges are larger than what is generally used (i.e., a=0.14 and z0=0.01 m) and are more representative of urbanized/rough surfaces than they are of grassy/smooth ones.

7. The globally-averaged 80-m wind speed from the sounding stations was higher during the day (4.96 m/s) than night (4.85 m/s). Only above ~120 m the average nocturnal wind speed was higher than the diurnal average.

8. Global wind power potential for the year 2000 was estimated to be ~72 TW (or ~54,000 Mtoe). As such, sufficient wind exists to supply all the worlds energy needs (i.e., 6995-10177 Mtoe), although many practical barriers need to be overcome to realize this potential.







Humpback wales are dying from plastic pollution


MARINE LIFE - This humpback whale is one example of a magnificent animal that is at the mercy of human activity. Humans are for the most part unaware of the harm their fast-lane lifestyles are causing. We aim to change that by doing all we can to promote ocean literacy to help reduce our plastic, food and carbon footprints.



 This website is provided on a free basis as a public information service. Copyright © Cleaner Oceans Foundation Ltd (COFL) (Company No: 4674774) 2019. Solar Studios, BN271RF, United Kingdom. COFL is a charity without share capital. The names AmphimaxRiverVax™ and SeaVax™ are trademarks.