UC Backed Startup Hired to Clean Up California City Harbor

Following intense rainfall in Southern California, Huntington Beach sought assistance from a startup supported by the University of Cincinnati to address the trash that ended up in its harbor, as reported by the Orange County Register and ABC7.

Clean Earth Rovers, a project under UC’s Venture Lab program, has created rovers capable of cleaning coastal waterways independently or with remote control. The rovers glide over the water’s surface in Huntington Harbour, gathering various debris like sticks, twigs, bags, bottles, cigarette butts, balloons, and cans of paint.

“Any surface debris that is floating,” stated Michael Arens, CEO of Clean Earth Rovers, discussing the rover’s capability to collect debris with the Orange County Register. The rover is capable of operating independently, eliminating the need for human intervention in the water or the use of additional vessels or personnel to collect samples.

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Clean Earth Rovers is currently running a two-month pilot program with Huntington Beach to collect trash in the harbor. In the initial weeks of the trial, the rover filled six 32-gallon trashcans.

Clean Earth Rovers has successfully prevented the trash from sinking to the bottom of the harbor or breaking into smaller pieces and drifting out to the ocean by collecting it. “People have the option to use pool nets from the beach or marina dock to retrieve items. However, if the items are located 5 feet off the shore or in the middle of the harbor, it becomes challenging to access them,” Arens explained to ABC7.

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