The Norwegian off-shore drilling billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke (who apparently began his career as a simple fisherman) is single-handedly funding the creation of a huge yacht to be used for marine research. The vessel will have the capacity to collect, and melt down, about five tons of plastic every day in an attempt to clean up the world’s oceans.
The 595-foot ‘Research Expedition Vessel’ is designed by Espen Oeino and built by VARD. It will offer marine scientists and researchers a vehicle through which to innovate ideas for climate change, sea pollution and overfishing. Onboard, they will have access to two helipads, an autonomous underwater vehicle and both sea and air drones. The vessel holds 60 scientists and 40 crew (making it by some criteria the largest yacht in the world).
The ship will also have green ‘performance strategies’ of its own! It will be equipped with a direct drive diesel-electric propulsion system (with battery package), an energy recovery rudder system and an exhaust cleaning system. All of these elements combine to reduce the vessel’s overall carbon-footprint.
Røkke is clearly giving back to society in a big way (even allowing the Norwegian World Wildlife Fund freedom to decide its own agenda). Construction of the research expedition vessel should be completed and sea-worthy by 2020. The greatest of luck to them!