Meritaito’s green buoy – Truly a green alternative

Thu 09 Apr 2020 03:47:00 PM EEST

Ecological mindset, product lifecycle impact and circular economy are essential choices and values for businesses everywhere these days. This applies for companies investing in Navigational aids as well. For them Arctia’s subsidiary Meritaito offers a green and sustainable option.

Meritaito’s green buoy is made of polyethyleneplastic and possesses other green qualities in addition to its color. Plastic is an excellent material choice for buoys as it is maintenance free and long-lasting in water. In Finland plastic buoys have been deployed successfully for 40 years. Plastic is durable in varying ice and weather conditions, keeps its color and does not wear due to seasonal variations or UV-radiation. The slippery surface is less prone to marine growth and the buoy does not need to be lifted for maintenance like sandblasting and painting, which is the case for steel buoys that need an overhaul every 5-10 years.

The plastic buoy is a lighter choice than a similar steel buoy and therefore it can be installed and maintained with smaller vessels and lifting equipment. This saves time and costs and contributes to lowering the vessel emissions. As the movements of the buoy are proven to be less to those of similar steel buoy the needed anchorage weights and chains can be smaller as well. In addition to this the chain wears less which will save hundreds of meters of chain over the buoys lifetime. Less wear means less maintenance at sea, which is essential as any maintenance vessel will consume hundreds of liters of fuel an hour. Each hour saved at sea corresponds to reducing tens of cars from the traffic for an equal period of time.

Meritaito’s buoys are equipped with remote control and -monitoring which cuts the maintenance need further as necessary maintenance can be timely planned based on accurate real time data of the buoys essentials. Information like battery energy level, exact position of the buoy and other possible monitored functions are accessible through the Control- and monitoring system which is offered to clients as an Saas service. This information can be accessed through a web browser. The remote control allows the luminosity of the lights to be altered by pilots or VTS (Vessel Traffic management) units which is an additional safety feature for instance when experiencing bad weather. Five year battery used in the buoys prolongs the maintenance needs further. Meritaito also works on developing alternative energy sources for buoys, among others through its EU-funded Intelligent Sea initiative.

As the buoy comes to the end of its life cycle all parts are recyclable. The PE-plastic in the shell is crushed, washed and reused as raw material for new plastic products. The core of polystyrene (EPS - also called Styrox) is recycled and reconsumed as new isolation material. The steel parts like the chain fastening and the radar reflector are recyclable metal while the raw materials in the battery, including iron and sink, are extracted and reused.

The buoys are fabricated at Meritaito’s buoy factory in Joensuu, Finland where polyethylenebuoys have been manufactured for 40 years already. The by qualities green buoy is manufactured in all desired IALA color combinations.    

The latest green installation has recently been carried out in Norvik  harbour in Stockholm, please read more about it here.