When not dazzling the public with low-noise bladeless fans, the perpetually innovating tech wizards over at Dyson have unveiled a new concept that harnesses the company’s famed cyclone vacuum technology and brings it out of dirt-ridden homes and into … plastic-polluted rivers.

Still just a concept that would need to be prototyped, tweaked, and tested before it actually sets sail, Dyson’s M.V. Recyclone barge is essentially a giant floating vacuum cleaner specifically designed to suck up plastic — and other forms of debris — from polluted rivers before said plastic and debris reaches the ocean where it can do even greater damage.

Inventor/designer/engineer vacuum cleaner demigod James Dyson first unveiled the vacuum-barge concept in TIME magazine’s Ideas Issue, published last month, explaining:

The amount of plastic debris in the oceans has grown a hundredfold in the past 40 years. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade but instead floats in giant, immeasurable patches for birds and sea life to ingest. Take the Eastern Garbage Patch, for instance, a large gyre of marine debris located near the Midway Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Albatrosses in the area give birth to 500,000 chicks every year, and nearly half of them die–many of them after consuming plastic fed to them by their parents, who think it’s food. The concept I propose, the M.V. Recyclone, would combat this ever growing problem of plastic waste making its way to our oceans by filtering out debris from the rubbish-stricken rivers that feed into them. By focusing on the polluted rivers, the M.V. Recyclone could tackle a concentrated stream of plastic, catching it before it spreads.

Dyson elaborates more on nuts and bolts of the concept in a recent email to Co.Exist:

Large skim nets unfurl from the rollers at its stern and are anchored on each side of the river. Hydraulic winches wind them in and out. The nets face upstream and skim the surface of the river for floating debris. The plastic waste is shredded on board and then different grades of plastic are separated by a huge cyclone — very similar to the way our cyclonic vacuums work.

Again, the M.V. Recyclone is still very much just an intriguing design concept at this point with not much more to show than a series of sketches. But as anyone who has invested (these lean, mean cleaning machines don’t come cheap cheap) in a Dyson vacuum cleaner over the years could probably tell you, no one does sucking more powerfully and more efficiently than Sir James Dyson.

And this isn't the first time that a major vacuum manufacturer has turned its attention to the scourge of plastic polluting our oceans: Back in 2010, innovation-minded Swedish home appliance company Electrolux launched a special (read: not for sale) collection of awareness-raising vacuum cleaners partially constructed from plastic waste harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean along with the Baltic, North, and Mediterranean Seas.

Via [The Verge] via [Co.Exist]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The M.V. Recyclone: Dyson unveils trash-sucking river barge concept
Dyson vacuum cleaners can suck crumbs and gunk off of floors like no other. But can they also help to remove plastic waste from highly polluted rivers?