The foundation can now start large-scale trials of passive plastic capturing technology in the Pacific Ocean.
According to the Ocean Cleanup’s website, technology “…could remove about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years, at a fraction of the cost.” This is unbelievable, thinking that the gargantuan patch floating in the oceans is currently 2x the size of Texas. The startup’s strategy for achieving its goal is to make use of the oceans’ natural tides and currents to clean out the body of water of polluting plastic.
In 2016, The Ocean Cleanup reached a significant milestone when it tested a 100-meter-long part of the barrier for 4 months in the North Sea – about fourteen miles off the coast of the Netherlands. According to Slat, the goal was to see the way the barrier fared in open ocean water. What also was being tested was its durability during strong storms as well as turbulent waves.
“We released a bit of plastic in front of the barrier to see how it did, but the real purpose was to see how the system did in the ocean,” Slat explained.
The Ocean Cleanup
With $21.7 million raised in funding, the cutting edge technology is predicted to be launched in the Pacific later this year.
After The Ocean Cleanup received its official beginning in 2013, Slat raised $2.2 million through a crowdfunding campaign that included 38,000 donors from 160 different countries. Over the past 2 years, he has received another $10 million in cash donations from entrepreneurs. Among investors, there is Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne, and, also, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and sometime Trump adviser Peter Thiel. The Ocean Cleanup has now 65 full-time employees and a scientific advisory board.
Slat left college in his first year as he was passionate about the passive ocean cleaning technology. As CNBC reports, Slat found out he could always re-enroll in college in case the venture didn’t turn out. Fortunately, both he and his vision are thriving. The inventor’s inspiration to “think big,” and due to his unconventional attitude, he can be credited with founding the first ocean cleanup system.
“There is this notion … in the environmental scene that every little bit helps, or ‘Think global, act local.’ I disagree with that. I think you have to start with how big the solution needs to be to solve the problem and then reason backward from there,” stated Slat.
The Ocean Cleanup is going to share “a very special announcement with the world” at an event on Thursday, May 11th, in Utrecht, Netherlands. So get ready!