The solution to the bitter war between environmentalists and the logging industry might have finally been realized with a creative innovation from Canada-based Triton Logging Inc. Their new underwater saw capitalizes on the 45,000 forgotten forests that have been drowned through the damming of reservoirs to produce hydroelectric power all over the world.The saw, aptly named the Sawfish, is the first fully submersible saw that can dive up to 1,000 feet underwater, making it a valuable resource in the harvest of about 300 million trees that were previously unreachable. According to a feature on the Sawfish on NBC’s “Today” show, the device provides a ‘green’ alternative for Triton Logging to avoid the many common problems that come along with deforestation in conventional logging. These problems include acceleration of soil erosion, disruption of animal habitats and clear cutting of trees that absorb the carbon dioxide fueling global warming.
Not only does the Sawfish provide an environmentally friendly alternative to on-land clear cutting and deforestation, it does not harm the lake in which it is used. It never touches the bottom of the lake or disturbs the soil. Additionally, according to a “Fox News” report, water readings taken before and after a harvesting project have shown no elevated levels of toxins. This is vital in proving the environmental integrity of the product and its true contributions to the industry.
While the Sawfish’s environmental merits are extremely important, its creative operational elements also deserve discussion. Triton uses maps to determine the location of underwater forests to which they will bring the unmanned Sawfish. The Sawfish is then tethered to a barge from which an operator maneuvers the device. The saw is equipped with eight cameras and SONAR technology that allow the operator to effectively locate target trees.
The actual process of collecting the trees is relatively straightforward. “The remote-controlled Sawfish clamps onto a tree with its five-foot-long pincers, attaches inflatable airbags, and chews through the trunk in seconds with a 54-inch blade,” said Popular Science magazine. The attached airbags pull the logs to the surface for easy retrieval.
A legitimate concern for many interested in purchasing and using this new timber is the quality of the wood itself. Many of these trees have been underwater for decades and one would assume that there must be some amount of damage or decay in this timber. The truth is, said the “Today” show, that the combination of cold water and little oxygen exposure actually acts as a preservative. Aside from increased drying time before cutting, there is little difference between this wood and conventional wood.
Because of the obvious environmental advantages of using this timber, there looks to be a significant market for it. Despite its higher cost, the benefits outweigh the price for many people. Many “green” builders will undoubtedly want to incorporate it into their building plans; ecologically aware consumers will definitely appreciate the use of salvaged wood in homes they purchase. According to The Wall Street Journal, the wood will also be marketed as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional wood at home-improvement stores for those wishing to use it on an individual basis. Concerned consumers will without doubt feel more comfortable using wood they know came from a “green” source.
The market for these 300 million sunken trees will certainly be a significant one, with early profit estimates at around $50 billion. This is a remarkable number considering that these trees were almost unrecoverable and lost forever.
The ideals of lumber companies and environmental groups have begun to mesh with this new innovation from Triton Logging. With the days upon us of increased interest and concern with global warming and the way we treat our planet, a compromise has to be made. We need to realize what is in the true best interests of society as a whole and think more seriously about where we can make compromises that are agreeable to everyone. The introduction of environmentally friendly technology like the Sawfish is critical in these compromises.
John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.