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

  • Ruben van Veen
    CFO a.i.
    Ruben van Veen, MSc & EMFC
    CFO a.i.

    Experienced Finance and Organization professional

    Wants to improve every day

    Loves to make the ocean cleanup happen, also financially

  • 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

  • Bart Buijsman
    Installation Engineer
    Bart Buijsman, BSc
    Installation Engineer

    Eight years of field experience in offshore construction

    Lifelong passion for surfing

    When I retire, I like my waves to be free of plastic

  • Bénédicte Dommergues
    Maritime Engineering Intern
    Bénédicte Dommergues
    Maritime Engineering 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!

  • Eline Spek
    Program Coordinator
    Eline Spek, MSc
    Program Coordinator

    Experienced juggler of projects, priorities and plans

    Can almost always answer your question. Probably yesterday.

    Boulderer, sword fighter & always something new

  • Evelyn Bray
    Strategy Development Intern
    Evelyn Bray, BSc
    Strategy Development Intern

    The Ocean Cleanup's biggest fan

    Firm believer research and communications are a match made in heaven

    My recipe to clean the ocean: optimism, determination, passion mixed with strategy, correspondence, out-of-the-box thinking and a dash of insanity

  • 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

  • Gerard van Laar
    Mechanical Engineer
    Gerard van Laar, MSc
    Mechanical Engineer

    Master degree in Automotive Engineering

    Professional inventor in the horizontal world and surprising ability to survive in the vertical world, thus far

  • Hannah Maral
    Environmental Engineering Intern
    Hannah Maral
    Environmental Engineering Intern

    Working hard to minimize any possible negative environmental impact of The Ocean Cleanup system

    Almost plastic free since 2012 and don’t get me started on food

    Have never harmed an animal, in my entire life. Once reanimated my neighbors goldfish when I was 12. He is still alive

  • 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

  • Ivan Soares
    Oceanographer & Computational Modeler
    Ivan Soares, PhD
    Oceanographer & Computational Modeler

    Senior Oceanographer with 25 years of experience in Ocean Circulation Modeling

    Has a PhD in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography by the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science – University of Miami

    Founder and CEO of the Atlantis Institute)

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

  • Jeremy Nijk
    Engineer Special Projects
    Jeremy Nijk, MSc
    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, MSc
    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

  • Laurent Lebreton
    Numerical Modeller
    Laurent Lebreton, MSc
    Numerical Modeller

    10 years experience in ocean modelling, environmental data science and mapping

    Ocean lover, surfer and globetrotter

  • Lourens Boot
    Project Manager Pacific Ocean
    Lourens Boot, MSc
    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, MSc
    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

  • Reijnder de Feijter
    Offshore Engineering Intern
    Reijnder de Feijter
    Offshore Engineering Intern

    Studying the hydrodynamic behavior of the barrier

    Divides even his lunch into finite elements

    Passionate about electric racing

  • 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

  • Robbert Sint Jago
    Offshore Engineer
    Robbert Sint Jago, MSc
    Offshore Engineer

    Graduated as an Offshore Engineer at the Technical University of Delft

    Passionate about everything that involves both nerding and sustainable technologies… And preferably lots of programming as well

    ‘The solutions all are simple-after you have arrived at them. But they’re simple only when you know already what they are’. Robert M. Pirsig

  • Roberto Brambini
    Hydrodynamic Engineer
    Roberto Brambini, MSc
    Hydrodynamic Engineer

    Lived in Denmark where I got the M.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering

    Singer-songwriter and passionate about swimming, surf, football and snowboarding

    Best adventure so far: one month research expedition in the North Pacific ocean

  • 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, BCom
    Executive Personal Assistant

    Proud member of the service team

    Passionate about ridding the oceans of plastic

  • Sjoerd Drenkelford
    Mechanical Engineer
    Sjoerd Drenkelford, MSc
    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

Supervisory board

Scientific advisory 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.