SCIENCE

Seaweed-Sucking Truck To Clean Spain's Beaches

05/14/2013 11:47 am ET | Updated May 14, 2013
University of Alicante

Massive mobile super-suckers will soon be roaming Spain's hottest beaches. But no need to fear -- you're unlikely to be sucked up.

Unless you happen to be a clump of seaweed.

Seaweed dies when it gets washed up onto the beach, and needs to be removed to keep the sand clear for beach-goers.

The seaweed-sucking machine -- designed by researchers at Spain's University of Alicante -- slurps up the seaweed floating near beaches and cleans and dries it so that it can be used commercially.

The team's invention, deemed a 'seaweed-sucking truck' by Gizmodo, processes and cleans the seaweed right on the beach, rather than at a plant. The truck has three bins called hoppers on its trailer. The first two hoppers take in shovelfuls of sandy seaweed and use seawater to rinse away the sand, while the third hopper dries the collected seaweed so that it can be converted into pallets or bales.

seaweed sucking truck
Seaweed treatment system.

Not only does this super-sucker cut down transportation and processing costs, the dried pallets of seaweed can be used commercially in building material, toothpaste, cosmetics, and paint. They could also be used to make bioethanol, a renewable energy source made from organic material -- usually agricultural feed or crops.

The machine could replace the complex system that is currently used -- a labor-intensive method of scooping up the plants and dumping them in a truck to be sent to a treatment plant. But this also picks up a lot of sand and seawater -- in fact, up to 80 percent of the total weight and volume.

The machine is still under development, so don't expect to see any giant seaweed-suckers roaming the beaches just yet.

Also on HuffPost:

Most Bizarre Deep-Sea Creatures

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS