Ocean Cleanup Prototype Set for a Test Run
The first ocean cleanup system ever tested at sea will soon be deployed for trials 23 kilometers (12 NM) off the Dutch coast. The goal of the test is to see how the floating barrier design is able to cope in extreme weather at sea during a 12-month period.
The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, unveiled its North Sea prototype today in the presence of The Netherlands government, as well as the main sponsor Boskalis, who will transport and install the prototype this week.
“It has been inspiring to work with The Ocean Cleanup team to optimize the engineering of the barrier,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis. “Now that everything is ready, we are looking forward to the really exciting next step, with the transportation and installation of the barrier.”
To validate the survivability of the system, a 100-meter-long segment of the floating barrier will be deployed in the North Sea. Sensors will track every motion and load in the barrier, which will provide engineers with the data to design a system that will be able to survive during the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
“This is a historic day on the path towards clean oceans,” said Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup. “A successful outcome of this test should put us on track to deploy the first operational pilot system in late 2017.”
“We urgently need this initiative to actually clean up the plastic from the mid-ocean gyres, where the pollution is trapped for an indefinite time, to prevent permanent damage due to degradation and fragmentation into dangerous microplastics,” said Sharon Dijksma, Dutch Minister for the Environment.