Clearbot’s Bigger Boats Double Plastic Cleanup Capacity in India

Hong Kong’s Clearbot launches larger solar-powered autonomous boats to clean up India’s polluted waters, doubling waste capacity. The startup aims to revolutionize marine services sustainably.

Clearbot's Autonomous Boats Set to Tackle India's Plastic Pollution
Clearbot’s Autonomous Boats Set to Tackle India’s Plastic Pollution (Image: Clearbot)

Clearbot Unveils Advanced Solar-Powered Boats to Combat Ocean Pollution in India

Marine tech start-up Clearbot, based in Hong Kong, is gearing up to introduce a new fleet of larger solar-powered autonomous boats to intensify its efforts in cleaning up polluted waters in India. The company’s latest self-driving electric boats, slated for deployment in March, boast the capability to collect approximately 500kg of plastic waste and other debris from the ocean—twice the capacity of their predecessors.

Origins and Mission

Established in 2019 by graduates from the University of Hong Kong, Clearbot initially began as a student project aimed at assisting Indonesian surfers in efficiently cleaning waterways overwhelmed by rubbish. Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Utkarsh Goel shared that this endeavor led them to recognize the global demand for sustainable infrastructure in the marine services sector.

Electric Revolution for Cleaner Waters

Clearbot envisions revolutionizing the marine services industry by automating and electrifying the task of cleaning oceans, traditionally carried out by manned diesel boats. The company’s focus is on making this challenging and essential job more sustainable.

Deployment and Impact

Over the past year, Clearbot deployed 13 boats capable of collecting up to 250kg of plastic waste per day. These self-navigating electric vessels operate in seas and lakes in Hong Kong and India, efficiently collecting waste from the water’s surface for subsequent recycling. The initiative gains significance in India, where approximately 13% of the world’s ocean plastics originate, as per a 2021 study published in the Science Advances research journal.

Pilot Projects and Future Prospects

Clearbot conducted a successful pilot project in September in Shillong, India, showcasing its ability to collect 600kg to 700kg of waste from a lake within three days. With ongoing projects in cities like Bengaluru and ambitious plans for scaling up operations in India due to the substantial demand, Clearbot anticipates making a significant impact on reducing waterborne trash in the country.

Tackling the Plastic Menace

The staggering statistic that at least 11 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans annually underscores the urgency of addressing this environmental crisis. Plastics, constituting at least 85% of total marine waste, pose severe threats to marine ecosystems and human well-being. Clearbot’s solar-powered electric boats play a crucial role in combating this issue, contributing to the United Nations’ efforts to protect oceans that absorb a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Impact and Sustainable Approach

Oceans not only house diverse marine life but also play a crucial role in mitigating climate change by capturing carbon dioxide and storing oxygen. Clearbot’s commitment to producing no carbon emissions sets it apart in the marine services industry. The use of solar energy to power its electric boats aligns with the company’s vision to lead an electric revolution, akin to Tesla’s impact on the automotive industry.

Business Model and Partnerships

Clearbot operates on a rental basis, offering its boats under contract for fixed monthly or daily amounts. The company has generated sufficient revenue to sustain its operations and has garnered attention from prominent investors. In September 2022, Clearbot secured a valuation of $4 million in its seed funding round, attracting support from backers such as Alibaba Entrepreneurship Fund, Gobi Partners GBA, and CarbonX Global.

Collaboration for Cleaner Marinas

In 2022, Clearbot entered into a one-year partnership with Sino Group to clean up the marina at the developer’s Gold Coast residential complex in Tuen Mun. Sino Land, the first developer in Hong Kong to provide a test bed for autonomous cleaning boats, acknowledged Clearbot’s innovative contribution in its 2022 sustainability report. Discussions for additional collaborations are underway to further bolster efforts for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Cindy Chow, Executive Director of the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, expressed confidence in Clearbot’s ability to create a lasting impact in the marine services industry. The commercialization of innovative concepts into enterprise-grade robots-as-a-service solutions has positioned Clearbot as a pioneering force in addressing the urgent issue of ocean pollution.

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The information above is curated from reliable sources and modified for clarity. Slash Insider is not responsible for its completeness or accuracy. We strive to deliver reliable articles but encourage readers to verify details independently.