Funding available for scheme to clean plastic from the oceans

Bloomberg Businessweek reports, 16th September 2014: “Dutch wunderkind Boyan Slat turned 20 this year. He also closed on $2 million in crowdfunding to build clean up contraptions designed to intercept and remove plastic refuse from the ocean.

The world’s oceans contain millions of tons of garbage, much of it plastic debris that collects in gyresgyre A circular pattern of currents in an ocean that span hundreds of miles. Slat, an aeronautical engineer and founder of the Ocean Cleanup, has been contemplating how best to attack this problem since the age of 16.

The solution he came up with is to deploy several V-shaped floating barriers that will be moored to the seabed and strategically placed in the path of major ocean currents. The 30-mile-long arms of the Vs, he says, will catch buoyant garbage and trash floating 3 meters below the surface while allowing sea life to pass underneath.

Floating barriers

Floating barriers
Courtesy The Ocean CleanupFloating barriers

In June, Slat, together with a team of about 70 scientists and engineers, released a 530-page feasibility study that explains the technology and explores questions of legality, costs, environmental impact, and potential pitfalls. The Ocean Cleanup also kicked off a campaign to raise $2 million to construct and test large-scale pilots.

Yesterday, Slat’s team announced that the funding goal had been achieved in 100 days with support from more than 38,000 donors in 160 countries. They expect the first pilot to be deployed within a year, and they plan to have a fully operational offshore clean up array in three years.

“I can’t wait to get started again!” Slat tweeted yesterday.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 16th September 2014. For the full text, see www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-09-16/this-dutch-wunderkind-now-has-the-funds-to-build-his-ocean-cleanup-machine

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