The Ocean Cleanup Project

 

Instead of going after the plastic using boats and nets, The Ocean Cleanup envisions a network of long floating barriers, which would allow the ocean currents to passively gather the plastic. Once the plastic is concentrated at a central point, it can be collected for recycling.

 

The Ocean Cleanup’s passive technology enables the ocean to clean itself. A V-shaped array of floating barriers, attached to the seabed, will catch the plastic deposited there by the natural ocean currents.


Underneath the booms, a submerged non-permeable screen will help concentrate plastic which is suspended under the surface. Most of the current will pass under these screens, carrying away all (neutrally buoyant) sea life and preventing by-catch. The lighter-than-water plastic will collect in front of the floating barriers.


The scalable array of floating barriers will funnel plastics towards the center of the structure, enabling a central platform to efficiently extract and store the concentrated plastic until it is transported to land for recycling. Intended for large-scale deployment, it can harvest plastic from millions of square kilometers.

KEY FIGURES

The Ocean Cleanup’s feasibility study indicates that a single 100 kilometer-long cleanup array could remove 42% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch over a period of 10 years. In our most conservative estimate this amounts to over 70 million kilos of plastic, at a cleanup cost of 4.53 Euro per kilo.

Peter MitchellComment