The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, today unveiled its North Sea prototype. When installed later this week, the prototype will become the first ocean cleanup system ever tested at sea. Two of The Ocean Cleanup’s main partners, the Dutch government, and world-renowned dredging and marine contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., were represented at the unveiling.
The prototype will be installed in the North Sea, 23 km (12 NM) off the Dutch coast, where it will remain for one year. The objective is to test how The Ocean Cleanup’s floating barrier fares in extreme weather at sea – the kind of conditions the system will eventually face when deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The 100 meter-long barrier segment to be deployed in the North Sea this week will help validate the survivability of the system. Sensors will track every motion of the prototype and the loads it is subjected to. The data gathered will enable engineers to develop a system fully resistant to severe conditions during the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. At the North Sea test site, conditions during a minor storm are more severe than those in exceptionally heavy storms (occurring once every 100 years) in the Pacific Ocean. (Read more.)