6. Oct, 2018

Ocean Clean up: an update

The huge and ambitious project of  24 years old  Dutch Boyan Slat and his team has now reached an important final stage. That is testing his Ocean Cleanup device in the Pacific Garbage Patch  between Hawaii and the US West coast (See also my prior Blog).  The present  system is nicknamed  Wilson after the volleyball of Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away. Wilson  recently left the docks of San Francisco and  is now pulled oceanwards by a tugboat towards the great  North Atlantic Gyre. Yesterday it passed Golden Gate Bridge around 2 pm. After 2 weeks of operational testing, Wilson and its escorte will continue its journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, another 1000 nautical miles away. Wilson consists of a 600 m long  floating tube with  a  3 m deep  screen attached underneath to  catch the drifting plastic particles. In contrast with earlier models  the new system will float  in the Ocean with the  circular current of  the gyre.  While drifting with the current the floating tubes will take an U shaped form  slightly moving  ahead of the particles of the  plastic soup.  A ship will regularly collect the  garbage  and transport it back to  the coast

Latest news (early October): after the initial 2 weeks testing period, that included the following checkpoints,

  • U-shape installation
  • Sufficient speed through water
  • Ability to reorient when wind/wave direction changes
  • Effective span in steady state
  • No significant damage by the end of the test 

system 001 now seems ready to GO for the actual cleaning phase in the Garbage belt itself.