Cleaning rivers in Hungary using an automated solar-powered boat

Robo-Collect Copyright Euronews Hungary
By Zoltán Siposhegyi
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Robo-Collect has been designed to collect waste from rivers in Hungary. It’s the country’s first automated solar-powered cleaning vessel and will begin work next year


Hungary's first automated solar-powered cleaning boat for rivers has been inaugurated. Called Robo-Collect, it uses cameras to detect waste floating on the water. The rubbish can be picked up and sorted, to be recycled.

Building the specially designed vessel began in 2018 and it'll be operational next year.

Miklós Gyalai-Korpos is one of the boat designers and he said there are two parts to the new technology so that as much waste is collected with as little energy as possible.

"In order to cover a larger area of the river we use a bubble wall. A machine with iron teeth that picks up the rubbish. We sort it at the back of the boat and put it into big bags. The bags are taken ashore by small boats so the river cleaner doesn't have to dock," explained Gyalai-Korpos.

Once ashore, the rubbish goes on a sorting belt. It can detect plastic bottles using optical devices, infrared sensors, and artificial intelligence. Any plastic goes to the recycling site and any floating wood goes back into the river.

Around 10,000 tonnes of waste finds its way to Hungary every year from Romania and Ukraine on the River Tisza.

The situation has become worse due to the war in Ukraine because at least 200 municipalities have stopped waste collection.

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