Anyone who has ever taken part in litter picking on the beach knows this rollercoaster of emotions: it is actually unfair that others throw their garbage overboard or simply leave it lying around after sunbathing. And we kind, good people clean up after them. Suzuki is now doing this on the side: anyone who buys a new two-liter outboard from the boat engine brand is also buying a built-in waste collector.
The Japanese engine manufacturer made this topic a principle back in 2010: the German workforce of the engine manufacturer goes on an annual “Clean-up the World” day. Not for partying, but for collecting garbage. “Recently, a collection took place near the headquarters in Bensheim around the bathing lake,” says Nicolaus von Buddenbrock from Suzuki. This resulted in no less than 600 kilograms of waste.
Cooling water circuit from the inlet (dark blue) to the outlet (light blue) © Suzuki
Suzuki now also diligently collects waste in the water. But the employees don’t have to do this, the engines do the job. All versions of the two-liter machine have an additional filter in the cooling circuit that collects plastic waste and other small parts from the cooling water. If you sail a motorboat, you can collect pollutants – at least a little – in this way.
The idea is actually so obvious that you have to wonder why it took so long to implement it. Combustion engines require large quantities of cooling water, which they suck up from the surrounding element during operation and then pump back again.
An additional filter catches foreign substances, especially environmentally harmful microplastics. But can this work, or will it clog the intake in a very short time and provoke engine damage?
Constipation is not dangerous
Suzuki manager von Buddenbrock went to see for himself whether the technology works. “We were recently out on the Barther Bodden in Mecklenburg with one of the engines.” After two hours of sailing during the Atlantic Marine Days, a lot of suspended matter had already accumulated in the filter – not only microplastics, but also sediment. So something sticks. Whether this will save the world remains to be seen.
However, the filter cannot become clogged, assures von Buddenbrock. “It is sufficient to clean it as part of the inspection intervals.” So for a new engine after 20 hours, then 80 and then 100 hours – but at least once a year. To do this, you have to remove the part and clean it with compressed air. To do this, remove the cover, after which the cooling channel is openly accessible. In principle, every owner can do this independently.
Although some things remain ... © Suzuki
... the filter does not become clogged © Suzuki
And even if the small mesh-like strainer is completely clogged, nothing can happen to the engine. An overflow valve ensures that a bypass is used if the inflow is disrupted. This bypass runs past the filter unit. Because the filter unit must be easily accessible from the outside so that it can be replaced if necessary, not all motors are designed for replacement.
All motors should receive the filter
To date, Suzuki has installed the low-threshold environmental technology in all performance classes of the in-line four-cylinder engine with 100, 115 and 140 hp. It is available in both mechanical and digital versions. And with every new model introduced, these should also receive the filter system. Over the next few years, all current boat engines will be fitted with the plastic filter.
According to the manufacturer, the mesh size is 0.4 millimeters, which means it can catch microplastics in the upper size range. According to the definition, plastic particles with a diameter of 0.5 centimeters or less are already microplastics. A replacement filter including seal costs 15.35 euros. It goes without saying that the engine power is not reduced by the use.
It is also possible to retrofit older machines. Suzuki DF140BG, DF115BG and DF140B/115B/100C models produced before July 2022 can be retrofitted with the filter unit. According to the manufacturer, such a retrofit kit costs 268.69 euros.
And what do boaters catch with it? Suzuki has examined the plastic flakes caught: According to this, the filter collects acrylic, cellophane, epoxy, nylon, PET and other foreign substances. The test drives and subsequent analyses took place in 16 areas around the world between China and Florida. It’s sad what drifts through the oceans without authorization.