"100 percent trash boat" sets sail in Taiwan

TAIPEI Thu Jun 9, 2011 9:43am EDT

1 of 3. “ForEver”, a green vessel constructed entirely from recycled materials, sails after it maiden launch on World Oceans Day in Taipei June 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Nicky Loh

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - A boat built completely from plastic bottles and other recycled materials, including old advertising banners, set sail in Taiwan to raise awareness about the marine environment.

The trimaran, named the "Polli-Boat," had as its main flotation system a series of interlocking plastic bricks made from plastic bottles with strengthened polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most common plastic in use today.

The seven meter (23 feet) boat has a flotation pontoon made from the 804 plastic bricks whose hexagonal shape allows them to lock together, withstanding the pressure of sailing. Used advertising banners are the sails.

"The concept of the Polli-Boat is using 100 percent trash," said Arthur Huang, the founder and managing director of Miniwiz Sustainable Energy Development Ltd, which made the boat.

"It's being propelled only by renewable resources -- obviously sailing, that's using wind. The other is solar energy with six modules of soft solar panels."

Each panel is capable of generating 72 watts, which powers an electric motor that propels the boat when there is no wind.

The boat set sail on Wednesday, World Ocean Day, in a ceremony accompanied by an eco-friendly creative boat competition held at the dock. It will tour around Taiwan for educational purposes.

Sponsored by the National Geographic Channel in Taiwan, ten designs were selected out of nearly 200 entries to compete for the most innovative boat built from recycled materials.

One boat was shaped like the endangered black-faced spoonbill to promote wetlands protection, while another was designed to look like a floating city to raise awareness of rising sea levels.

(Reporting by Christine Lu, editing by Elaine Lies)

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