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Suzuki develops filter to collect micro-plastics from sea

Suzuki Marine has developed the world’s first microplastics collecting system designed for outboard motors. While the motor runs, it pulls harmful plastic fragments from the water, leaving it cleaner than it was before

The international company has long been sensitive to environmental issues: ten years ago it launched the “Clean Ocean Project” to coordinate its environmental campaigns in order to clean up oceans, rivers and lakes. This initiative goes from using paper instead of plastic for engine packaging to a wide range of interventions in the workplace. The year 2020 marks a critical development in the project, thanks to the Micro-Plastic Collector: a new device which contributes in an amazing way to collecting micro-plastics.

We are all aware of the fact that plastic waste is a growing environmental issue, with a huge amount of mismanaged waste flowing into the oceans each year. The waste then breaks down into micro-plastics in the ocean’s ecosystem, which can have a significant impact on marine life.

To tackle these issues, Suzuki's engineers focused on the structure of the outboard, which filters the micro-plastic as seawater is pumped through the engine to cool it.

Through this device, the microplastics dissolved in the sea can then be collected, simply by using the boat with the Suzuki engine.

The collector can be easily installed to the return hose and does not affect engine performance, since it only utilizes the returning water that has already been used to cool the engine. Research carried out in Japan has confirmed that significant deposits of microplastics have been found among the substances collected through this filtering system. Further data is being updated and will be available at the end of the research and development phase of the system, which Suzuki is also conducting in the rest of the world. The company plans to introduce the device as optional in its outboard engines from 2021 and incorporate it as a standard feature in the future.

The new filtering technology, together with Suzuki’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness and participation among outboard users, dealers and other industry stakeholders, is part of an ongoing campaign to benefit the environment. The President Max Yamamoto, head of Suzuki Motor of America, has announced that they are excited about taking this significant step, because their motors can actually be part of a solution for a critical environmental issue.

Promoting the “Suzuki Clean Ocean Project” at all levels is one of the company’s priorities for solving the social problems listed in the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). It also expresses Suzuki’s commitment to pursue its brand slogan of “The Ultimate Outboard Motor ” in the environmental aspect. In order to clean the ocean, Suzuki Marine Team will promote the project together with partners and boat users all around the world.

“This ground-breaking development is part of Suzuki’s continuing determination to devise innovative solutions that mitigate the serious impact of plastic waste on our natural environment,” said Mark Beeley, head of Marine & ATV for Suzuki GB. “It marks the first time in marine industry history that an outboard motor cooling system has been utilised to extract micro-plastics from the seawater.”

In line with its commitment to the environment and the sea, they have also changed their habits and implemented certain behaviors within the workplace, inclined towards environmental protection. Indeed, they reduced the use of plastic bottles and glasses in favor of municipal water dispensers and promoted the recycling process in the whole firm.



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