AimZero – Leave No Footprint
AimZero is the world’s first project that aims to dive, explore and clean the oceans with zero emissions. Together with premium brands such as XShore, Polestar, Cake, Fourth Element and Awake, the project aim is to leave a zero carbon footprint during their environmental projects.
The AimZero project is the brainchild of Erik Rådström Acnell, a Swedish technical diver, inventor and developer of lighting and heating systems for diving in extreme environments – ERA-Underwater.
”AimZero is intended to show it is possible to dive with minimal impact on the environment. In fact, in our first pilot project we removed ghost fishing net from the ocean in what could possibly be described to have a net positive effect on the environment.” says Erik.
There are plenty of Ghost Diving missions which haul tonnes of net from the water, but this is the first we know of that did so using a fully electric powered boat as part of the project, and Erik and his collaborators have high hopes for their vision of a zero carbon future for diving.
WHO’S ON BOARD?
Fourth Element has been manufacturing dive gear from recycled materials including ghost fishing nets for more than 5 years. We were interested in the project from the outset offering equipment support including lift-bags for net recovery and of course thermal protection.
XShore designs and manufactures electric powered zero emission boats. With new technology and innovative research, smart design and sustainable materials, XShore embraces the tradition of maritime craftsmanship while discarding outmoded fossil fuels in favour of cleaner technology. Not only does electric power produce a minimal carbon footprint compared to fossil fuels, which helps combat climate change, toxic fumes and disruptive noises are also banished by the use of electrical power.
Cake is another Swedish company bringing electric innovation to the internal combustion driven world. Developing lightweight electric drive train off road bikes, their pursuit of zero emissions riding is an all-consuming one and along with Erik, are working on a “Dive Bike” with enough power to transport a diver and gear to a dive site, without CO2 emissions.
Polestar is essentially Volvo’s performance electric vehicle spin off company, developing vehicles with a single objective – yes, once again, low carbon footprint transport.
Awake completes the line-up of Swedish, technology driven brands. This time the focus is on creating powered surfboards with minimum environmental impact.
LOW CARBON CLEAN-UP
During the weekend of May 30-31, dive teams from AimZero teamed up with Badewanne, a non-profit organization of divers that have been documenting shipwrecks in the Gulf of Finland and other parts of the Baltic sea for more than 20 years. Using funding supplied by outdoor retailers, Naturkompaniet they conduct ghost net removals in the Baltic sea.
The objective was to clean the wreck of S/S Hispania in the Baltic Sea from ghost nets.
The wreck rests at 55m near Ornö on the outer limits of the Stockholm Archipelago. S/S Hispania was found by divers in the early 1990s and nets were already covering the wreck at that time. Wildlife being caught in these nets is a regular occurrence and every year divers report new dead seals in the nets, stuck after trying to eat the fish that also get trapped in the nets.
For two days the teams did three dives per diver, with bottom times between 45-70 minutes cutting, securing and transporting decades of old nets to a spot outside the wreck for future salvage. All dives were conducted from a dive vessel supported by Badewanne with support from XShore and their fully electrically powered boat.
Marcus Runeson, Project Leader at Badewanne said “The work we did on this wreck is especially important since the removal will lead to a permanent change in this region. No new nets are lost in this area of the Baltic Sea due to changes in fishery practice and, as such, the wreck will now remain safe for seals as well as fish.”
Erik Rådström Acnell’s main concern was to kick off AimZero’s project with a meaningful result. “To establish the viability of the project, of course, we needed to clear the wreck from nets, and we succeeded! To do it with a lower carbon footprint, thanks to XShore and the other partners, was the extra validation we required for the future success of AimZero. We were able to test the electrical boat to the extent that we know that missions of this kind can be done with the electrical boat alone, and this sets the scene for the next stages of the project”
The next projects will test the viability of a dive bike, developed by Cake, as a means to transport divers and gear to the site. This will have applications in many destinations worldwide, where rugged transport is required. Later in the summer, the XShore vessel will be as a primary dive vessel and the concepts will be further developed… Its going to be an exciting few weeks.