The Netherlands-based foundation Ocean Cleanup is set to deploy its first clean-up system by the first half of next year, which has been designed to extract plastic from the Great Pacific garbage patch.
The first parts of the clean-up system have entered production, and additional improvements to the original design have already been implemented.
Ocean Cleanup's system is set to be deployed two years ahead of schedule and aims to reduce clean-up time, as well as facilitate the cleansing of 50% of the Great Pacific garbage patch in just five years.
The company notes that its ocean cleaning system will involve the installation of U-shaped screens designed to channel floating plastic to a central point, where it can then be removed and shipped to shore for recycling into durable products.
A new mobile or drifting system will be added to the clean-up unit as part of the improvements. The addition of the drifting system means that instead of fixing the floating screens to the seabed at great depths, sea anchors will now be applied to ensure the floating screens move at a slower rate than the plastic.
The modular clean-up system also includes a fleet of smaller screens as opposed to a single large barrier.
Ocean Cleanup CEO and founder Boyan Slat said: “At The Ocean Cleanup we are always looking for ways to make the clean-up faster, better and cheaper.
“Today is another important day in moving in that direction. The clean-up of the world’s oceans is just around the corner.
“Due to our attitude of ‘testing to learn’ until the technology is proven, I am confident that, with our expert partners, we will succeed in our mission.”
The latest improvements added to the clean-up system will enable Ocean Cleanup to ramp up production, deployment and the actual extraction of plastic from the ocean.
An experimental testing of the first system is set to begin off the West Coast of the US by the end of the year.