Plastic Odyssey is the name given to an expedition which aims to go around the world aboard a catamaran fuelled by plastic waste recovered throughout the journey and converted into fuel.
During a stopover in Dakar, in Senegal, Simon Bernard, a young officer of the Merchant Navy, was struck by the ubiquity of plastic waste, and in particular by the people trying to survive in that environment. He thought that the only way to help these populations and to act in the interest of protecting the environment was to convert the problem – plastics, into a solution. That is when he came up with his idea of conducting an expedition around the world aboard a ship-recycling workshop. His aim was to raise awareness to the fact that plastic waste can be a resource and to reduce its presence in the oceans.
Simon is currently working on a system which will enable plastic waste dumped on the world's coasts by the sea, into fuel. Intent on combating this pollution and "raising awareness among population regarding a new economy of creation", he thus killed two birds with one stone.
"The Plastic Odyssey expedition aims to travel to the coasts and estuaries of the world aboard a ship and plastics laboratory. The aim is to bring together on the same ship various projects aimed at proposing an alternative to plastics or to ingeniously recovering them" he explained.
The ship will have on board: a culture of micro-algae to produce bioplastics, micro plastic recycling plants, a central system for converting plastic waste into fuel, artists working with plastic waste, and more.
"Plastic Odyssey will be based on the research of a collective which has been able to develop a simple and affordable prototype that can be used anywhere", revealed the new Ulysses who is currently seeking patrons and sponsors to properly prepare the stopovers around the world and build a ship from recycled materials or built by their own hands: the famous naval architect Marc van Peteghem has already granted his support.
The expedition is scheduled to cast off in 104 weeks, for a three-year journey around the world and with stopovers in 33 countries.