Responding to this year’s theme of the Lexus Design Award to ‘Design for a Better Tomorrow’, Shuzhan Yuan addressed the critical need to battle off shore oil spills. A graduate from Xiamen University of Technology, Yuan is a product designer, who compares the study and understanding of this mysterious world, with design. He also encourages rumination about life’s meaning and actuality, through design. With Hydrus, his main aim has been to upgrade current methods of dealing with oil slicks, and motivate people to do something about climate change.
It is widely known that oil spills have a hugely negative effect on the environment, especially the marine ecosystem. Current treatment methods of oil spills - oil booms (containment booms act like an enclosure to prevent the oil from spreading/floating any further) and oil skimming (machines specially designed to suck the oil up from the water surface like a vacuum cleaner), are ineffectual after a point, on top of consuming a magnitude of manpower and resources. To combat these concerns, Yuan proposed a more efficient emergency treatment, which he calls Hydrus.
Hydrus integrates both these methods of treatment, a portable skimmer and a restructured boom. This remote controlled device is quicker to clear oil spills, and more competently. To prevent the oil from spreading further, the boom encloses the leak, while the skimmer draws oil into it, simultaneously. Additionally, it sprays an oil bacterium to diminish any crude oil residue.
The cylindrical, rust coloured Hydrus is an apparatus which propositions an efficient upgrade to the existing methods of oil spill treatment; a necessary and ingenious solution to contain and clear devastating contamination caused by off shore oil spills.
Read more about the Lexus Design Award 2019 at the Milan Design Week and its other finalists: