Ocean Cleanup presents Floating Screens

Ocean Cleanup presents Floating Screens

According to Boyan Slat, the increased efficiency of the system, allows for the cleanup of half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 5 years.

Dutch foundation The Ocean Cleanup announced it will start extracting plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with a new concept: Floating Screens. The new developed technology is based on floating ‘anchors’, instead of the initially planned fixed anchors.

Series of floating anchors (two black structures) are to keep the screen in place.

The cleanup system is already tested.

Floating screens

Let the ocean do the work; that’s the idea behind The Ocean Cleanup. That’s why the young team developed an installation of screen channels floating plastic to a central point. The concentrated plastic can be extracted and shipped to shore for recycling into durable products.

The improvements announced involve the introduction of a mobile, or drifting system. Rather than fixing the floating screens to the seabed at great depths, floating sea anchors will be used to ensure the also floating screens move slower than the plastic.

Rather than one massive barrier, the improved, modular cleanup system consists of a fleet of individual, smaller seized screens.

First tests West Coast USA

Testing of the first system will start off the American west coast by the end of 2017. The Ocean Cleanup shared details on the improved design, and announced the start of the cleanup.

Ocean CleanUp

During his diving holliday in Greece, he found more plastic bags than fish. Now he is 21 and CEO of a high-profile company whose mission is to clean up the incredible amount of plastic floating around in the oceans.

Still experimental

On the occasion, founder and CEO Boyan Slat of The Ocean Cleanup demonstrated the new technology and unveiled the first parts of the cleanup system: four 12-meter (40-foot) high anchor components.

Boyan Slat commented: “At The Ocean Cleanup we are always looking for ways to make the cleanup faster, better and cheaper. Today is another important day in moving in that direction. The cleanup of the world’s oceans is just around the corner.”

He added that the large-scale trials of its cleanup technology in the Pacific Ocean later this year are still experimental in nature.

“Due to our attitude of ‘testing to learn’ until the technology is proven, I am confident that – with our expert partners – we will succeed in our mission.”


Moving towards the deployment of our first cleanup system in mid-2018, The Ocean Cleanup continues to test and verify system components. On August 29 Ocean CleanUp deployed the first part 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 we meet our first cleanup system deployment deadline of mid-2018.

Update from tests in California

Garbage Patch Research

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic went into the ocean in 2010, according to the most comprehensive study of plastic pollution so far.

  • The international study calculated that 192 nations produced a total of 275 million tonnes of plastic waste.
  • The largest amount of this waste was produced by China, at 1.32 to 3.52 million tonnes. This was followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
  • Australia — which didn’t rate in the top 20 polluters — contributed less than 0.01 million tonnes.
  • But that still added up to 13,888 tonnes of litter per year, a quarter of which finds its way into waterways, according to study co-author Dr Chris Wilcox of CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship.

With global production of plastic increasing exponentially, the amount of plastic finding its way into the ocean is likely to get much bigger.


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