Oceaneye detection

The limits of our knowledge of plastic pollution are entirely set by the restrictions of current measuring methods. To optimize the data collection process, automated tools should be developed, allowing a systematic exploitation of the itineraries of commercial, racing and research ships.

The same way temperature is measured in the context of global warming, plastic pollution must now be measured and monitored over the entire surface of the oceans. Today, this measure is performed "point-by-point", by a water filtration process which requires dispatching a ship in the area, having an experienced crew on-board and long laboratory analyses. This approach is extremely costly and only allows the coverage of certain regions. This is why today neither the spatial distribution, nor the temporal evolution of this pollution is known on a global scale.

In order to address this problem, Oceaneye conceived the "Oceaneye detection" project. The concept consists of two phases: (1) Develop a "microplastics detector", namely an autonomous system capable of measuring in real time the concentration of microplastics, from a ship or from any system moving on water; (2) Systematically equip racing ships, commercial ships or research ships, so as to set up an efficient and permanent data collection network.

A feasability study has been conducted in two EPFL laboratories. This study allowed to:
• prove the relevance of the project and show how it would meet the needs of the highest environmental authorities.
• define a technology usable for this project

In order to develop this project, Oceaneye is looking for a specific financing, both for the projects development and for the related technologies, within the EPFL

Carte des routes commerciales
Map of commercial routes

Navires commerciaux
Equipping commercial, racing or research ships with autonomous measurement systems would allow to quickly determine the global status of the plastic pollution of the seas, while strongly reducing the costs of data collection.