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Amphibious Excavator

Cleaning waterways with Big Float Amphibious Excavator in Mauritania

Since 2015, the Big Float amphibious excavator has worked to clear the waterways and collect this plant, which is now transformed into bio-coal for household use.

In Mauritania, Typha, an invasive plant of rivers and wetlands, has been invading the Senegal River for years and upsets not only the ecosystem, but also the economic activity of the Rosso area. Since 2015, the Big Float amphibious excavator has worked to clear the waterways and collect this plant, which is now transformed into bio-coal for household use.

Located 27 km from the mouth of the Senegal River in the south of Mauritania, the Diama anti-salt dam creates a reservoir lake used, in part, for double-crop irrigation. In return, preventing brackish water from spilling into the river, it creates a fertile ground for the proliferation of Typha, an invasive plant growing in fresh water. In 30 years, Typha has covered the region on nearly 30,000 hectares.


The overabundance of Typha causes some consequences on the ecosystem and economic activity by absorbing the oxygen necessary for fauna and flora, by invading fish and agricultural areas, and Typha deprives local populations of their sources of income and navigation lanes. In addition, the stagnation of water contributes to the proliferation of mosquitoes and parasites, which leads to the development of potential diseases.


In early 2010, after 10 years of research on biomass energy, a research engineer at the Institute of Technological Education of Rosso (Iset Rosso), managed to get a glimpse of the light behind the reeds. The idea of ​​the Mauritanian engineer,Babana Ould Mohamed Lemine, was to valorize the resource by transforming it into bio-coal, spurred on by the French NGO Le Gret.


The process involves harvesting and drying the Typha, then carbonizing it into coal dust that will be mixed with clay and then pressed and agglomerated into domestic fuel briquettes.  In Mauritania, 90% of households still use charcoal for cooking.  As an alternative to mainly imported charcoal, the solution alsofights deforestation.  In addition, unlike conventional charcoal which emits unabsorbed gas, the CO2 emitted by this typha coal is recaptured in water by the plant, which will therefore grow back and be cut again and then transformed into charcoal.  Virtuous circle.

With the commissioning of its E22 amphibious excavator, used to clear the waterways and collect Typha, RDS International encourages and supports the development of this process which creates employment and uses biomass to change the daily life of the local population.

The typha upgrading process has been distinguished in 2015 by the Prix Convergences International in Paris.


* Teacher researcher in Mechanical Engineering and Technical Manager of TYPHA project,Babana Ould Mohamed Lemine won the innovation prize for sustainable development in Africa, during the Forum organized before the Elysee summit for peace and security in Africa by the French Ministry.

Source: https://www.constructioncayola.com/environnement/article/2019/03/15/123450/une-pelle-amphibie-big-float-remu-mauritanie

Thanks for article to RDS FRANCE