TenderShark is a robot propelled by two electric thrusters, which have an eight-hour range, RanMarine says, can cover a distance of 5km and carry a payload of 100kg.

TenderShark, to be unveiled in Miami this month

TenderShark, to be unveiled in Miami this month

It travels up and down rivers, coastal areas and other waterways, swallowing plastic waste, biomass and clearing algae. 

“Plastic waste is one of the main environmental challenges our planet faces in the marine environment,” says the company. “Furthermore, it is widely cited that up to 80% of marine waste originates from land. From this debris, 60 to 95% of the waste is estimated to be plastic debris. In addition, the combined Mediterranean coastal areas and territories, alone, contribute in excess of 0,5 million tons of waste to the coastal waters every year.”

RanMarine was founded in 2016 by Richard Hardiman to develop his idea to create a water-borne robot that harvested plastic waste from ports, harbours, rivers and marinas. The drones also collect data on water health quality.

The company’s first robot, WasteShark, has been around since 2017 and 80 of them are operating in waterways around the world, gulping up plastic before returning it to shore to be processed.

TenderShark has been developed in answer to what Hardiman saw as a gap in the market for smaller machines, and it will be on show at the Miami Boat Show later this month for the first time. There are another two additions to the company’s range on the drawing board – MegaShark and the Shark Pod.

“We have an epic battle on our hands,” says Hardiman. “Current technologies are simply not working, we need a modern approach to a modern problem, and for me robots and autonomous drones were an easy and simple answer. Of course it’s critical to create policies and strategies to stop plastic waste from entering our waterways as a primary strategy. Our WasteSharks offer a pragmatic solution for cleaning up the existing mess that is perpetuated on a daily basis, and effectively prevent waste from reaching the open ocean.”