Anne Marieke Eveleens, Saskia Studer, Francis Zoet, Philip Ehrhorn
The Bubble Barrier prevents plastic pollution by creating a bubble screen within the waterway.
The Bubble Barrier prevents plastic pollution by creating a bubble screen within the waterway. This is achieved by placing the tube (with holes) along the bottom of the waterway and pumping air through a tube.
This product is being targeted to all cities worldwide with a special focus on Asia. The product is currently implemented across the Netherlands.
This product is implemented by the manufacturer.
The amount of money needed for full implementation of a new Bubble Barrier highly depends on the local conditions (width, depth, flow velocity, etc). Correspondence with the Manufacturer in August 2020
Primary competitors include Mr. Trash Wheel and Interceptor, which are other autonomous systems that collect plastic pollution from the river.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Target users include: municipalities and water management boards exploring innovative and non-disruptive methods in cleaning their waterways, and nature parks committed to preventing plastic pollution in nature reserves.
Users can obtain the product by directly contacting the manufacturer.
As of August 2020, Bubble Barriers have been installed at a wastewater treatment plant in Wervershoof, New Holland and in Amsterdam, commissioned by the Regional Water Authority Amstel, Gooi and Vecht and the municipality of Amsterdam
Does it requires a person to operate, or is automated to function independently?
Material/products consumed with each use
Type of power needed
The Bubble Barrier works by using a tube with holes, which is placed on the bottom of a river. Pumping air through the tube creates a bubble curtain. The air bubbles force plastics in the water to the surface, making them accessible for removal. This concept is used in the oil industry, the dredging industry, and the Dutch lock system. By placing the bubble barrier diagonally to the flow of a river, the power of the river forces debris to the banks of the river, where it can be easily removed from the water. The Bubble Barrier also uses the natural current to guide the plastic to the local catchment system.
Additional positive side effects include 1.) increased oxygen levels within the water, which stimulate the ecosystem and prevent the growth of toxic blue algae, and 2.) absorption of sounds and waves meaning fish and shores experience less harm from the ship traffic.
Image illustrating how the Bubble Barrier works
Provided by the manufacturer.
The manufacturer can be contacted regarding the replacement of any components such as the PVC tube or compressor.
The manufactured specified performance targets are as follows:
- Animal-friendly: The Bubble Barrier forms a barrier for plastics, but allows fish to pass
- Ship-friendly: The Bubble Barrier has no effect on passing ships
- Full Range: The Bubble Barrier reaches entire width and depth of a river or canal
Initial concept testing took place in the flumes at Deltares in May 2017. A 200 m length Bubbles Barrier was subsequently tested at Kampen in the IJssel at the end of 2017. The 3-week investigation shows that that the Bubble Barrier works under all Dutch autumn weather conditions and that it catches 86% of all used test material on average.
The product was tested by the following organisations: Dutch National institute of Infrastructure and Water Management Rijswaterstaat, Research Institute Deltares, and contractors BAM/van den Herik
No known safety hazards are related to this product. However, the manufacturer must be involved in its correct installation in a waterway.
The manufacturer indicated they are always looking for creative uses for the plastic which has been removed, in order to create more awareness about waterway pollution.
Spaargaren, L., 2018, “The Bubble Barrier“, Delft University of Technology Master Thesis.
It is understood that the Bubble Barrier is compliant with known regulations as the product does not require any changes in infrastructure or policies. Any potential issues arising from implementation in different countries will be addressed on a project basis with the relevant authorities.
The manufacturer cites laboratory testing to assess the product’s ability to block all types of materials under all weather conditions present during a Dutch November month catching 86% of all used test material on average.
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