The ocean cleanup program is still a thing! - Gaias Homes

The ocean cleanup program is still a thing!

 In Entrepreneurship, Environment, Innovations, Technology

Remember this 19 year old boy and his vision?



Yeah, we asked ourselves as well:

“what happened with him and his mission to clean up our oceans?”


Then we heard the message:


“We are thrilled to announce that The Ocean Cleanup has just raised 21.7 million USD in donations. This new contribution allows us to start ocean trials of our pilot system in the Pacific Ocean later this year. This latest funding round brings our total funding since 2013 to 31.5 million USD.“

But for everybody who still doesn’t know anything about it, here from beginning:





Trash accumulates in 5 ocean garbage patches, the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California. If left to circulate, the plastic will impact our ecosystems, health and economies. Solving it requires a combination of closing the source, and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean.

19-year-old Boyan Slat unveiled his plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans in 2013. The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world.



Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling. The issue of by-catches, killing life forms in the procedure of cleaning trash, can be virtually eliminated by using booms instead of nets and it will result in a larger areas covered. Because of trash’s density compared to larger sea animals, the use of booms will allow creatures to swim under the booms unaffected, reducing wildlife death substantially.


The first prototype at work


With millions of tons of garbage dumped into the oceans annually and repeat incidence of oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, it’s the Ocean which has taken the brunt of unsustainable methods from man. In effect, it’s estimated almost 100,000 marine animals are killed due to debris entanglement and continually rising pollution.


His Vision grew in to a giant, million dollar company with a vision:


The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. A full-scale deployment of our systems is estimated to clean up 50 % of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.


Ocean garbage patches are vast and dispersed


Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world: the subtropical gyres, also known as the world’s “ocean garbage patches”. Once in these patches, the plastic will not go away by itself. The challenge of cleaning up the gyres is the plastic pollution spreads across millions of square kilometers and travels in all directions. Covering this area using vessels and nets would take tens of thousands of years and cost billions of dollars to complete.




Moving towards the deployment of the first cleanup system in mid-2018, The Ocean Cleanup continues to test and verify system components. On August 29 they deployed the first part of the new North Sea prototype. The new North Sea tests are aimed at assessing two variations of floater-screen connections as well as the application of antifouling on the screen.


With each passing day, the plastic floating around in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to break down into harmful microplastics. This reality pushes The Ocean Cleanup team to test, analyze and work quickly ensuring they meet their first cleanup system deployment deadline of mid-2018.


Last year in June, got the first prototype in the North Sea deployed. With the system changing from a moored concept to free-floating one, the barrier’s stiffness needed to change in order to maintain its U-shape. The first prototype consisted of a rubber floater with inflatable chambers for buoyancy. In the new design, the floater is now a solid wall HDPE pipe.



The first cleanup system is scheduled to be deployed by mid-2018; less than 10 months from now. The Ocean Cleanup team is now moving full speed ahead towards execution, but in parallel continues to test parts of the system to maximize the chances of success.


Inspection of the floater, July 2017.


The prototype is currently in production, and the floater recently passed quality control. By inflating the floater with 0.2 bar of overpressure, we were able to check for any potential leaks of the welds and components.

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