Today, Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup, announced The Next Phase to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Initially, Slat predicted clean up would begin in 2020, but with the new modifications and funding, he promised today to begin clean up within the next 12 months!
Not only has Slat moved up the start time for clean up, he is also now estimating the removal of 50 percent of the garbage patch in just five years! Previously his team estimated 42 percent removal within ten years.
The much needed break-through for the Ocean Cleanup team came with the discovery that it is not necessary to fix the systems to the ocean sea bed. The systems could use anchors that float at just a few meters depth. This allows the systems to move with the currents, waves and winds. This break-through dramatically decreased costs. Additionally, it drastically increases the survivability of the systems because they no longer will have to withstand the entire force of the ocean. The systems will just float with the waves.
Slat also spoke about how this new method allows the clean up systems to “act like the plastic.” The systems will actually drift where the plastic drifts. As a result, the plastic concentration in front of the systems will be ten times higher than it was in the fixed model. Therefore, the clean-up time will be cut in half.
Additionally, engineers working on this project have determined that a fleet of systems will be much more functional than a singular system. This will allow the systems to cluster where the garbage clusters. Finally, because the company will deploy a fleet of systems, The Ocean Cleanup no longer needs full funding to begin production. It can install systems as funding becomes available, and the first systems are already in production.
Slat is a 22 year old Dutch inventor and entrepreneur, who has been passionate about the oceans for many years. At just 19, Slat dropped out of college to pursue his passion to clean up the ocean and founded The Ocean Cleanup. Slat designed his model knowing that traditional ocean clean-up methods would require thousands of years and billions of dollars. Consequently, he knew he needed to develop a technology that would utilize the ocean’s currents to help collect trash.
Why move through the ocean, if the ocean can move through you?
Ocean garbage patches are vast but dispersed. By acting like an artificial coastline, we passively concentrate the plastic by orders of magnitude, 100% powered by natural ocean currents. (source).
In 2014, Slat launched the most successful crowdfunding campaign in history at that time. He raised two million dollars from over 38,000 funders from 160 countries in 100 days! Furthermore, at the beginning of May 2017, Slat announced that The Ocean Cleanup successfully raised $21.7 million to begin the trails of their pilot system in the Pacific Ocean (source).
“Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight.” – Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup
To date, The Ocean Cleanup has raised a total of $31.5 million. The project is looking for partners to help fund the systems. If you would like to contribute, please click here.
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