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We propose the redesign of an anchor buoy, in which filtering technology has been implemented to gather and reduce microplastics.

  • YUNA, the microplastic filtering buoy designed by YUDesign UPV on 2019

  • Video presentation of YUNA, the microplastic filtering buoy designed by YUDesign UPV on 2019

    Video presentation of YUNA, the microplastic filtering buoy designed by YUDesign UPV on 2019

  • The aim of YUNA, the microplastic filtering buoy.

  • The design process used to develop YUNA.

  • The environmental impact of YUNA on the oceans from 2019 to 2050 and its functional specifications.

  • YUNA, an circular and sustainable design.

What it does

Sustainable and supported by the circular economy, YUNA has been designed to eradicate microplastics presents along the coast and to be implemented mainly at a local scale, in the Mediterranean Sea. YUNA is an anchor buoy with the function of filtering water.

Your inspiration

Each year, tons of plastic are being dumped in the seas. Microplastics are highly toxic particles that measure less than 5 mm of diameter. "From now to 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea"," We ingest more than 114 microplastics per meal". These are only a few of the statements that have inspired YUDesign UPV, composed of 20 students (you can find the names on our website), to design and develop YUNA to clean the coasts. Moreover, we have seen first hand how that problem affects the Mediterranean beaches, which is why "protecting the local" has been the main incentive for the realization of this project.

How it works

YUNA requires little energy to achieve its goal. The design of its structure has been inspired by the anatomy and shape of the ocean sunfish, because of its easy adaptation to the course of the changing sea currents. This way, the microplastics in these currents will be collected by the buoy, as there will spin according to the sea currents, just like a weather-vane. The filter system is formed by a few filters from higher to lower grammage which will filter microplastics depending on its size. For the moment, active charcoal and other agents will be used to filter the tiniest particles, which barely measure microns. Once microplastics are filtered, they will be reused so that they don't return to the sea. The buoy will be made with polythene because its degradation doesn't pollute the environment thus, creating a circular and sustainable product. What's more, costs will be reduced by making the two pieces of the external structure with just one mould.

Design process

The first step was to choose the topic when we decided to tackle environmental issues. After an investigation, the problematic of microplastics was detected and a market survey was carried out to be aware of existing projects regarding this matter. Then, we started sketching and decided that the most adequate redesign was that of a buoy, as it is an element which is already present in the majority of the beaches. From there, we kept developing the idea in all of their technical aspects and by extensively defining both of their external and internal structure. A mock-up at scale 1:5 and a prototype of the filter system were made. However, during the whole process, we wanted to show YUNA to the world via our social networks, other challenges or awards, and other events to get support and raise awareness about the issue. What's more, we would like to highlight that we've been given help and advise from organizations related to the Mediterranean coast and from the teachers of our university. One of the key points of the process of this project has been, without any doubt, the collaboration and teamwork. The good organization and distribution of the roles have been decisive so that every aspect of the project was covered.

How it is different

There are solutions for this critical issue, but only for preventing, raising awareness and cleaning bigger plastics. This is why we want to carry on an innovative solution to eradicate microplastics from our coasts. Our main goal is that YUNA becomes a product that inspires hope and is easy to implement. We consider that only with a 20% more of inversion than what would be invested in an ordinary buoy, every company or government could do their bit to help the environment. From YUDesign UPV we have already achieved two of our goals, which are: To disseminate our project, with the purpose of raising awareness about this particular issue, and to end the stage conceptualisation and layout of the product.

Future plans

Our next goal is the implementation of YUNA's prototype, in the coasts of Valencia. For that, we will have to test the filtering system to check and improve its effectiveness. We will also keep developing the app to keep a detailed analysis of the functioning of the buoy. To achieve this goal, we are going to create a start-up for which we already a business plan in which the next three years are planned. And then? We will keep eradicating the plastics from the seas, we will cooperate with cleaning systems of bigger plastics, we will implant our buoy in the rest of the European coasts and add filtering systems to the sewage-treatment plants


Winners Start UPV Ideas 2k19 Category Business Project Winners VI Challenge of IDEAS UPV Category Ecology and environment Events and Expositions participation: "Cultura Politécnica. Habitar el presente, construir el futuro" (July-September 2019) Repensat I fet International Boat Show of Sevilla 2019 Foro Empleo UPV 2019

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