We are The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup foundation

  • Founded 2013

  • Staff 40+

  • HQ Delft

Why we need to
clean the ocean

Learn more


  • Boyan Slat
    CEO and founder
    Boyan Slat
    CEO and founder

    Inventor since birth

    Founded The Ocean Cleanup at age 17

    Youngest-ever recipient of UN’s highest environment award

    Twitter, Facebook

  • Allard van Hoeken
    Ir. Allard van Hoeken MBA

    Innovator and Entrepreneur; 20 years of offshore experience

    Engineer of the Year 2015, received the first Prins Friso Engineering Award

    Founder of ‘Oceans of Energy’ -- Clean Energy and Clean Oceans

  • Michael Hartnack
    Michael Hartnack

    Qualified Chartered Accountant

    Former venture capital investor and Merger & Acquisition consultant

    Avid Surfer-in-residence

  • Julia Reisser
    Julia Reisser, PhD

    Leads the ocean plastic research team, with 10+ years of at-sea experience from tropics to poles

    Author of 15+ peer-reviewed publications

    Obsessed with making the Great Pacific Garbage Patch disappear ASAP

  • Anna Schwarz
    Research assistant
    Anna Schwarz
    Research assistant

    Member of the Ocean Cleanup lab-team

    Bachelor of life and Master of Earth

    Passionate about contributing to a sustainable planet

  • Arjan Boezeman
    Innovation Advisor
    Arjan Boezeman
    Innovation Advisor

    History in developing custom equipment for marine contractors

    Awarded 4 patents and 2 innovation awards

    Qualified mechanical engineer and bus driver

  • Arjen Tjallema
    Concept development lead
    Arjen Tjallema
    Concept development lead

    Hydrodynamics & motion-of-the-ocean expert

    Floating & boating enthusiast

    Experienced mooring designer, with strings attached

  • Aurore Levivier
    Research Assistant
    Aurore Levivier, MSc
    Research Assistant

    Master's degree in Oceanography

    Interested in ocean plastic problem

    Studying interaction between plastic and marine organisms

  • Bénédicte Dommergues
    Maritime engineer intern
    Bénédicte Dommergues
    Maritime engineer intern

    Wants to live on a tropical island, but only if there is no longer plastics on the beaches


  • Bruno Sainte-Rose
    Lead Computational Modeler
    Bruno Sainte-Rose, PhD
    Lead Computational Modeler

    Leads plastic modeling activities

    Loves to put his rocket science education to down to earth challenging missions

    As a Caribbean Islander he knows the importance of cleaner oceans!

  • Coen Friederich
    PM North Sea Prototype
    Ir. Coen Friederich
    Project Manager North Sea Prototype

    Managing plastic instead of steel structures for a change

    Proud to be the oldest member of the North Sea team and maybe of the full team at The Ocean Cleanup

    Busy to get the boom out in time and on the right spot

  • Eline Spek
    Assistant program manager
    Eline Spek, MSc
    Assistant program manager

    Experienced juggler of projects, priorities and plans

    Can almost always answer your question. Probably yesterday.

    Boulderer, sword fighter & always something new

  • Femke Hoes
    Legal & Finance coordinator
    Femke Hoes
    Legal & Finance coordinator

    Proud member of the service team

    Passionate about ridding the oceans of plastic

  • Francesco F. Ferrari
    Lab coordinator
    Francesco F. Ferrari, MSc
    Lab coordinator

    Because plastic fighting handyman marine biologist that sails the ocean, is not a job title

    3 expeditions to collect samples

    Always looking for a solution

  • Ianthe Dickhoff
    Communications Manager
    Ianthe Dickhoff, MSc
    Communications Manager

    Storyteller for a clean ocean, building bridges to get there

    5+ years of non-profit communications

    Arts & social science background with focus on organizational culture

  • Jan-Willem Damsteeg
    Systems and Control Engineer
    Jan-Willem Damsteeg
    Systems and Control Engineer

    Background in Mechanical and Control Engineering

    Spatial data analysis & Mechatronics design

    Passionate about race cycling

  • Jean-Sebastien Verjut
    Senior Structural Engineer
    Jean-Sebastien Verjut
    Senior Structural Engineer

    Passionate about everything floating

    Helped moor vessels for the O&G industry from 70 to 2700 m water depth

    Likes to rise up to the challenge

  • Jenke Heeke
    Head of Office
    Jenke Heeke
    Head of Office

    Proud member of the service team

    Passionate about ridding the oceans of plastic

  • Jeremy Nijk
    Engineer Special Projects
    Jeremy Nijk
    Engineer Special Projects

    Education in structural engineering

    Experienced in offshore cable and subsea rock installation

    Idealist, engineer, adventurer, thai boxer and meditator, rolled into one

  • Joost Dubois
    Head of Communications
    Joost Dubois, MSc
    Head of Communications

    Chief Storyteller

    25+ years veteran of corporate affairs, marketing and communications

    Passionately curious with a nose for news

  • Julius Lein
    Hydrodynamic Engineer
    Julius Lein
    Hydrodynamic Engineer

    Hydrodynamics and coding vs. operation and organization, familiar in both worlds

    Passion for windsurfing, sailing, football, cycling… sports!

    Fixing everything from old scooters to computers

  • Lourens Boot
    Project Manager Pacific Ocean
    Lourens Boot
    Project Manager Pacific Ocean

    Ex-oil international gone green

    Leads the team that designs, tests and builds the system that will capture and retrieve plastics from the oceans

    Lives on a house boat and practices Kung-Fu in his spare time

  • Mark Paalvast
    Hydrodynamic Analyst
    Mark Paalvast
    Hydrodynamic Analyst

    Graduated Cum Laude from TU Delft

    Over 25+ years of experience in wordplay jokes

    Very enthusiastic about everything that moves in the ocean

  • Norbert Fraunholcz
    Lead Engineer Recycling
    Norbert Fraunholcz, PhD
    Lead Engineer Recycling

    +20 years of experience in recycling technology of waste plastics

    Experienced in R&D and actual recycling operations

    Passionate about eco-system-friendly plastics and a clean environment on land and sea in general

  • Pavla Debeljak
    Microbial Oceanographer
    Pavla Debeljak, MSc
    Microbial Oceanographer

    Studies the biofilm of microplastics

    Inspired by Science&Technology

    Underwater lover

  • Peter van Eersel
    Financial Advisor
    Peter van Eersel, MSc
    Financial Advisor

    20+ years of experience in Accounting, Controlling for multinationals

    Digital nomad; joining the world's innovative, entrepreneurial communities

    Dedicated to help out startups in sustainability

  • Rick Martini
    Offshore operations manager
    Rick Martini
    Offshore operations manager

    Prepares and Leads offshore operations. 25+ years' experience in Shipbuilding and offshore operations.

    Loves to sail the seven seas with his yacht

    Passionate about all creatures great and small living in the oceans

  • Rutger Arisz
    General counsel
    Rutger Arisz
    General counsel

    Responsible for all things legal, procurement, and complicated

    Olympic rower in a previous life

    Weekend captain of MS “FUHGEDDABOUDIT”

  • Serena Cunsolo
    Research Assistant
    Serena Cunsolo, MSc
    Research Assistant

    Curious researcher of the effects of environmental pollution

    Strong interest in developing environmental sustainability through education and public awareness

    Loves getting lost in nature

  • Simone Krielen
    Executive Personal Assistant
    Simone Krielen
    Executive Personal Assistant

    Proud member of the service team

    Passionate about ridding the oceans of plastic

  • Sjoerd Drenkelford
    Mechanical engineer
    Sjoerd Drenkelford
    Mechanical engineer

    Works on extraction technology

    Background in Transport engineering and logistics

    Fanatic music lover

  • Steven Bink
    IT coordinator
    Steven Bink
    IT coordinator

    Microsoft Tech consultant since 1994

    Passionate for Science and Technology

    Joined The Ocean Cleanup on June 18, 2013

  • Willem van Schoten
    Hydrodynamic Analyst
    Willem van Schoten
    Hydrodynamic Analyst

    Keen on modelling physics

    Runs numerical simulations and marathons

Supervisory board

Our origins

It was the summer of 2011 when then 16-year-old Boyan Slat was diving in Greece, and realized he came across more plastic bags than fish.

Being asked to write a high school science paper, he then used that time to investigate the plastic pollution problem, and why people claimed it was nearly impossible to clean up. This work eventually lead him to the idea of using the natural ocean currents to let the oceans clean themselves.

He first floated the concept in 2012 using a TEDx Talk, which rapidly went viral, being watched millions of times. A crowd funded, crowd sourced team of voluntary scientists and engineers then stepped up to help work out the idea.

The Ocean Cleanup was officially founded in 2013.

Build a clean future

Apply your engineering talent to solving real problems.