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Slough firm aims to build world's first seaborne plastic recycling centre

A mission to set up the world’s first recycling plant in the ocean, which would convert plastic into power, is being taken on by a social enterprise in Slough.

Ocean Polymers, based in Grays Place, is aiming to set up a ship with onboard machinery which recycles plastic found in the ocean and converts it into hydrogen to power the station.

The firm has been working with a team from Imperial College London on the project for the past six years, and it hopes to get up and running in the second half of 2019.

The main research has been undertaken at the university for the past 10 years.

PR director Timur Tezisler says that while similar plastic recycling projects exist on land, they have not effectively tackled the problem of giant floating trash islands in the middle of the ocean.

He says that it is currently not cost effective to send boats out to sea to bring back plastic waste to shore, given the fuel required and the mixture of plastic and non-recyclable materials.

“There’s a huge problem out there in the ocean right not that’s not being addressed,” added Mr Tezisler, who says much of this rubbish is only collected if it washes up on shore.

“Ocean Polymers will be the only ship based ocean plastic collection and recycling system in the world,” he added.

“This is really taking the solution to the problem.”

The project, which will involve smaller boats travelling short distances to take rubbish back to the main ship, will also produce and sell clean plastic aggregates.

A second-hand oil tanker, which could cost about $300,000 second-hand, would contain two recycling machines, which could each process up to 10 tonnes of plastic per day.

Mr Tezisler cannot yet say who his company is working for but says that the team have been approached by a country ‘within the Indian Ocean’.

Depending on the success of the project, the ship could end up working for other clients, cleaning up different parts of the ocean.

Ocean Polymers is currently trying to raise £750,000 for a five per cent share in the company.

Its first step will be to secure patents and intellectual property rights and to establish a business plan.

“It’s something that will be putting Slough on the map, it’s very much a local business that will be looking for support from its community and people to give us a push to help us grow,” said Mr Tezisler.

“Nobody would envisage something like this happening in Slough of all places but it very much is.”

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