Those of you watching the Boyan Slat story might be interested to know that the first prototype is now up and floating in the North Sea. Remember Boyan Slat? The guy who proposed hoovering the oceans of plastic debris using solar powered bots? It was back in 2012 that he first suggested it. While the idea was much praised, indeed his TEDx Talk on the subject went viral, there were almost as many negative responses.
Perhaps with some justification. the boy was 19 and still at college and his ideas undeveloped and untested. But still….
You can read his proposal for yourself here….
“The essence of Marine Litter Extraction is, instead of fighting it, to use the ocean to your advantage.
The gyres are 5 areas in world’s oceans where rotating currents create an accumulating mass of plastic, dubbed ‘Garbage Patches’. Moving through the oceans to collect plastic would be costly, clumsy and polluting, so why not let the rotating currents transport the debris to you? With Marine Litter Extraction, an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms will span the radius of such a gyre.These booms act as giant ‘funnels’, where a slight angle of the booms create a component of the surface current force in the direction of the platforms.
The debris then enters the platforms, where it will be separated from plankton, filtered out of the water, and eventually stored in containers until collected.
Undaunted by adverse comments he went on to found The Ocean Cleanup foundation, a crowd funded, crowd sourced team of voluntary scientists and engineers to work on the project.
From Boyan Slat’s open letter “As some of you may have noticed, The Ocean Cleanup has just released its feasibility study, investigating the technical and financial viability of the concept I proposed 1.5 years ago. After the concept went viral one year ago, and (besides a tremendous amount of support) I also faced criticism about the feasibility of my concept, I then decided to assemble a team of about 100 people, with whom we performed a feasibility study.The report, authored by 70 people, covers all major topic, including engineering, physical oceanography, ecology, maritime law, finance and recycling.
The research described in this feasibility study concludes that The Ocean Cleanup Array is likely a feasible and viable method to remove large amounts of plastic pollution from the North Pacific Gyre. Computer simulations have shown that floating barriers are suitable to capture and concentrate most of this plastic. Combined with ocean currents models to determine how much plastic would encounter the structure, a combined cleanup efficiency of 42% of all plastic within the North Pacific gyre can be achieved using a 100 km array. In collaboration with offshore experts, it has been determined that this array can be made and installed using current materials and technologies. The estimated costs are in total of 317 million euro, or 31.7 million euro per year. This translates to 4.53 euro per collected kg of ocean trash.
First Prototype Launched
And now there is this
THE HAGUE, June 22, 2016 – The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, today unveiled its North Sea prototype. When installed later this week, the prototype will become the first ocean cleanup system ever tested at sea. The prototype will be installed in the North Sea, 23 km (12 NM) off the Dutch coast, where it will remain for one year. The objective is to test how The Ocean Cleanup’s floating barrier fares in extreme weather at sea – the kind of conditions the system will eventually face when deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Well Done YOU!
So exciting. We will be watching with interest.
You can keep up to date with the project over on their website