The Ocean Cleanup has released a video of the test of a North Sea prototype cleanup system which commenced last month.
The Ocean Cleanup is a Dutch foundation developing technologies to rid the oceans of plastic. Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods - vessels and nets - would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete, says the organization. The passive system it has developed is estimated to be able to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years, at a fraction of the cost.
The idea behind The Ocean Cleanup is to let ocean currents do the work using an installation of U-shaped screens channeling floating plastic to a central point. The concentrated plastic can then be extracted and shipped to shore for recycling into durable products. The original prototype has been revised from an anchored system to a mobile, drifting system. Rather than fixing the floating screens to the seabed at great depths, The Ocean Cleanup will apply sea anchors to ensure the floating screens move slower than the plastic. Rather than one massive barrier, the improved, modular cleanup system now consists of a fleet of screens.
The new North Sea tests are aimed at assessing two variations of floater-screen connections as well as the application of antifouling on the screen. The group aims to have its first system deployed in mid-2018.