Designer Honglin Li has created a proposal for a waste-to-energy skyscraper in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Called FILTRATION, the project was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2019 eVolo Skyscraper Competition. The modular, prefabricated megastructure contains several Material Recovery Facilities and Water Treatment Plants to recycle the floating garbage and clean seawater while taking on the world energy crisis.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean that spans water from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The size of the patch is estimated to be 8.1% of the size of the Pacific Ocean, twice the size of Texas and three times the size of California, the rubbish layer in the area is on average 100 feet thick. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not the only vortex; while both the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean have trash vortexes, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has the largest one. In addition, shipping routes in smaller bodies of water, such as the North Sea, are also developing garbage patches.
As Honglin outlines, unlike conventional material recovery facility that mainly relies on gravity and uses multiple conveyors to rise garbage mainstream several times for sorting and distribution, FILTRATION uses seawater to pump garbage and polluted water to the apex of the building, then filters water and recyclable material down to the bottom. Eventually, non-recycled material and recycled material will be transported away by tidal power. The main structure – the tree truck core allows for a flexible and inclusive range of facilities and plants to be attached on. Such facilities range from Plastic Recycling Facility to Waste-to-energy Power Plant, all of which can be accommodated in vertical aggregation on four sides as idealized and efficient dwellings at the foundations of the tower. Most of the facilities are composed of modular parts which can be replaced at requirements.
FILTRATION was made to provide a sustainable and regenerative solution to floating waste, as well as a second chance to reconstruct the relationship between nature and human beings.