Posted on September 3, 2018
An audacious young Dutch inventor named Boyan Slat and his 70-member team have entered the final preparations for a mission to deploy an experimental device they say can capture much of the plastic that fouls the world’s oceans.
His Ocean Cleanup Project aims to use the oceans’ natural gyres (five circular currents in the oceans around the world – two in the Atlantic, two in the Pacific, and one in the Indian) to collect plastic waste.
The stations would have large booms, rather than nets, that would be designed to allow sea life and other items with the proper densities to pass under, while the plastics would be captured.
Because the platforms would be stationary, utilizing the currents for capturing waste, they could be highly energy efficient, and ideally, self-supporting through harnessing solar energy or currents.
The final design comprises a 600-m-long (2,000 ft) u-shaped barrier with a skirt hanging below and uses a mix of winds, currents and surface waves to sweep through the Garbage Patch and gather up plastic waste for collection. Then the plastic can be recycled.
The 8 of September, they will start to use this in the Pacific Ocean, there, around 250 nautical miles (463 km) offshore, the system will undergo operational testing over a period of two weeks, before continuing on to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The team estimates a fleet of its trash-collecting systems can clean 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years.
You can see here a video animation of the invention.