Wonderful Engineering

Ocean Cleanup System Is Complete And Is Ready To Be Towed Out To The Sea

After more than five years of development, the final news for the Ocean Cleanup Project is arriving fast. The team members have added the finishing touches to the trash-catching system over the weekend. In less than a week’s time, the system will be towed out towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.Boyan Slat, Dutch aerospace engineering student gave the concept. The Ocean Cleanup Project is an ambitious venture to clean up the monumental amount of plastic waste from the ocean.

Several prototypes were tested at sea and the design was finalized. The final design consists of a 600 m long u-shaped barrier with a skirt hanging below. It uses a mix of winds, currents, and surface waves to sweep through the Garbage Patch and gather up the plastic wave for collection. The team moved into an old naval base in San Francisco where the last six months were spent joining the device together. The assembly of the cleanup was completed over the weekend, and after that, it was transferred to the Seaplane Lagoon.

The system is now ready to be towed out in the coming week. On Saturday, September 8, a Maersk Launcher vessel will tow the system. It is named Wilson about the famous volleyball from the film Cast Away. There are nearly 250 nautical miles offshore and the system will go through operational testing over a period of two weeks before it is sent to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The team estimates that a fleet of its trash collecting systems can clean 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years.