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Torqeedo to Integrate Ocean Plastics Into Its Pioneering Products

Every year, an estimated 14 million tons of used plastics end up in the world's waterways and, finally, the ocean. These plastics entangle wildlife, break down into hard-to-remove microplastics, and litter our human and natural environments. Torqeedo GmbH, the world's leading manufacturer of electric and hybrid drives for the marine market, is taking the next step toward cleaner waterways and a more sustainable marine industry by diverting and integrating ocean-bound plastics into its emission-free boating products.

Alex Oswald and Florian Deger examine prototype propellers1. Image Credit: Torqeedo GmbH

Torqeedo has established a new Advanced Engineering Team that, among other tasks, explores alternative materials to further minimize the environmental impact of its recreational and commercial marine products. The Team is testing recycled ocean-bound PET and PP plastic pellets, which are estimated to reduce the source material’s CO2 impact by more than 80% and are very close in quality to virgin plastic due to strict processes and advanced recycling equipment.

"The typical way to integrate new materials is to start with a small percentage – maybe with just 10 or 20% recycled content. However, we decided to aim higher. We made our prototype propellers from 100% recycled ocean plastics, and we're thrilled to report that they surpassed all benchmarks in the first round of environmental and stress testing. After some slight adjustments, we will produce the next prototypes in Torqeedo orange. These will be very similar to the propellers that are in use today," said Florian Deger, who leads the project within Torqeedo's Advanced Engineering Team. "It feels good to hold one of the prototypes in my hands and know we are keeping plastic bottles and pollution out of the waters we all love to explore on our boats." 

"While integrating ocean plastics into our products is just one step of many as Torqeedo helps to build a more sustainable marine industry, it’s also much more significant than just diverting plastic bottles," said Fabian Bez, CEO of Torqeedo GmbH.

"We're helping to develop a circular plastic economy and transforming used plastics from trash to treasure. Collecting used plastic for recycling only becomes economically viable when there is a market for the recycled material, and we're proud to lead the way in closing the loop. Many manufacturers hesitate to use recycled materials based on outdated perceptions of inferior material quality. Torqeedo believes that a circular economy for plastics can be established today without negatively impacting product performance and durability,” Bez continued. “If the next testing rounds are as successful as expected, the first Torqeedo products containing ocean-bound plastics will hit the market within the next year.”

Bez concluded: “This is exactly why we established our new Advanced Engineering Team at Torqeedo. Every step we take toward lowering boating’s environmental and climate impact improves our human and natural environments and helps to preserve our boating lifestyle.”

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