Caribbean, Mexico fighting sargassum with heavy-duty machines (October 12nd 2015)
French company, recently found themselves in the front lines in the battle to rid beaches of sargassum, the stinky, brown, ugly masses of floating seaweed that are carpeting the shorelines of popular destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Sargassum shows up every year, but this summer’s onslaught is the largest on record, leading Brian Lapointe, a professor and oceanographer with Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, to declare it “the worst year ever. I’d say we’ve hit a crisis level.”
That makes it a good year for CDO Innov, a French company that manufactures industrial equipment used for environmental issues.
Sargassum presents several challenges as well as a rotten-eggs odor. On many beaches, the stuff washes up with every tide. Workers can rake it and remove it in the morning, only to have it return on the next tide, pushed along by ocean currents and winds.
CDO Innov, a company headquartered in Machecoul, a small town in western France. One of its solutions is an amphibious vehicle called AMP, which can execute many tasks, including collecting mounds of seaweed on the beach, at the waterfront and in the sea.
The vehicle has a suction nozzle connected to a high-capacity pumping system.
To develop AMP, CDO Innov partnered with another French company, Thomsea, a leader in marine spill equipment and the inventor of the engine-driven seaweed action pump.
“The solution is very effective and can collect 25 tons of seaweed per hour,” said Guillaume Amiand, marketing communications officer, who added that the AMP system is designed to collect sargassum without destroying native flora and fauna.
CEO Cyril Thabard said, “The testing we have done guarantees that any living creature sucked up with our system [i.e. shrimp, eels or fish] emerges alive and well. Our machines also do not damage the turtles’ nests on the beaches.”
Once the sargassum is collected, it goes to recycling centers; it can be used to make plastic bags, clothing, paper and fertilizer.
“We live in the west of France in Brittany,” Thabard said. “And we’ve been recycling green seaweed for quite a while, so we are at the cutting edge of technology due to the involvement of many science labs in the area.”
CDO Innov has been marketing its solutions to several resorts and destinations in the Caribbean. Its machines start at $50,000 each, and the company said that training is imperative to guarantee the machine’s best performance.
CDO Innov executives said they are currently in talks with resorts in the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Belize about purchases of the AMP, which is already in use in Guyana and Brazil.
Source : Travel Weekly