We are The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

  • Founded 2013

  • Staff 60+

  • HQ Delft

Awards & Recognitions


  • Boyan Slat
    CEO and Founder
    Boyan Slat
    CEO and Founder

    Inventor since birth

    Founded The Ocean Cleanup at age 18

    Youngest-ever recipient of UN’s highest environment award

    Full bio, Twitter, Facebook

  • Lonneke Holierhoek
    Lonneke Holierhoek, MSc

    Using 20 years of experience in maritime and offshore projects towards achieving successful cleanup operations.

    Master of Science in Technical Mathematics (TU Delft, 1995), Quantity Surveyor (I.C.E.S., UK, 2003).

    An enthused amateur lapidist.

  • Jos Huijbregts
    Jos Huijbregts, MSc

    Bringing 25 years of corporate finance and business management experience to The Ocean Cleanup

    Master’s in Econometry (Amsterdam University, 1990), executive degree in Financial Controlling (Amsterdam University, 1994), Management Program (Harvard, 2009)

    As an avid sailor, I'm fully motivated to help to rid the oceans of plastic

  • 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

  • Amy George
    Project Engineer
    Amy George, MSc
    Project Engineer

    Figuring out the most effective way to recycle ocean plastics.

    Currently focused on advanced washing methods to produce high quality plastics.

    Believing that humans aren't on earth to destroy it but to sustain the beautiful things that existed forever.

  • André Vollering
    IT Support
    Andre Vollering, MSc
    IT Support

    Master Bioinformatics

    I fix computer related problems

  • Anna Schwarz
    Environmental Researcher
    Anna Schwarz, MSc
    Environmental Researcher

    Member of the Ocean Cleanup lab-team

    Bachelor of life and Master of Earth

    Passionate about contributing to a sustainable planet

  • Arjan Boezeman
    Project Director Extraction
    Arjan Boezeman, MSc
    Project Director Extraction

    History in developing custom equipment for marine contractors

    Awarded 4 patents and 2 innovation awards

    Qualified mechanical engineer and bus driver

  • Arjen Tjallema
    Technology Manager
    Arjen Tjallema, MSc
    Technology Manager

    Hydrodynamics & motion-of-the-ocean expert

    Floating & boating enthusiast

    Experienced mooring designer, with strings attached

  • 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

  • Bas van der Geest
    Computer Fluid Dynamics Intern
    Bas van der Geest
    Computer Fluid Dynamics Intern

    Acquiring information about the physical behaviour of individual plastic particles to improve CFD models.

    Grew up close to nature. To keep enjoying it, conservation efforts need to be done. Having started in a semi arid desert, I didn't think I'd be focussing on the Ocean.

  • Bénédicte Dommergues
    Junior Modeling Engineer
    Bénédicte Dommergues, MSc
    Junior Modeling Engineer

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

    Master of science in maritime engineering, studied at Ecole Centrale Marseille, France

  • Brigitte Vlaswinkel
    Lead Environmental Impact
    Brigitte Vlaswinkel, PhD
    Lead Environmental Impact

    In charge of setting up and managing all environmental impact assessment work.

    PhD from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Miami.

    Passion for Clean Energy and Clean Oceans. Also employed at ‘Oceans of Energy’.

    Keeps bodies and minds in balance at The Ocean Cleanup by teaching yoga over lunch.

  • 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 knows the importance of cleaner oceans!

  • Carolyne Claxton
    Hydrodynamic Engineer
    Carolyne Claxton, MSc
    Hydrodynamic Engineer

    Modelling and simulating the behaviour of objects in the water.

    Spent 4 years in the O&G industry moving and mooring floating rigs around the world’s oceans.

    Would spend my life on the ocean if possible, alternative plan is to be by the ocean doing anything water related.

  • Deborah Koskela
    Lead Hydrodynamic Engineer
    Deborah Koskela, BSc
    Lead Hydrodynamic Engineer

    Investigated the impact of ocean motion on flexible things, for fifteen years

    Believes in sustainable living. Treads the fine line between recycling and hoarding.

    Using my professional skills for my personal beliefs.

  • Derk Tazelaar
    Financial Controller
    Derk Tazelaar, MSc
    Financial Controller

    Experienced Controller for Fabrication and Offshore Installation Projects

    Passionate about surfing and sailing. Wish for my kids to enjoy the ocean as well in the future.

  • Diane Fovet
    Mechanical Engineer
    Diane Fovet, MSc
    Mechanical Engineer

    Master of Mechanical Engineering from ICAM, Lille

    This is my first job. I couldn't think of a better project to start my professional career

    Trying to better the environment by how I eat, travel, work and live. Optimistic and adventurous, always ready to jump out of planes or do crazy snowboard tricks

  • 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

  • Ellen Hoogland
    General Counsel
    Ellen Hoogland, LL.M.
    General Counsel

    All-round business-oriented general counsel with 20 years of experience.

    Motivated to leave the world a bit better than I found it.

  • Erika Träskvik
    Digital Communications Manager
    Erika Träskvik, MSc
    Digital Communications Manager

    Have been fascinated by marketing as long as I can remember. Finnish but speak Swedish.

    Grew up in the forest and spent the summers at the coast. Yes, Finland has summer too.

    Loving the “nothing is impossible”-spirit at The Ocean Cleanup.

  • Evelyn Bray
    Communication Strategy Developer
    Evelyn Bray, BSc
    Communication Strategy Developer

    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

  • Florent Beauverd
    Video & Content Manager
    Florent Beauverd, BSc
    Video & Content Manager

    Self-educated videographer, photographer and copywriter.

    Bsc. Geosciences & Environment

    Curious about physics & mechanical engineering. Tendency to shatter iPhone screens. In love with the great outdoors.

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

    Master degree in Automotive Engineering

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

  • Hans Limburg
    Ocean Team Graduate Intern
    Hans Limburg, BSc
    Ocean Team Graduate Intern

    Studying wave overtopping and bridging phenomena of the floating barrier system.

    Regularly found in, near and on the water. Passionate about rowing, surfing, white-water kayaking and swimming.

  • Hendrik Wrenger
    Computational Modeler
    Hendrik Wrenger, MSc
    Computational Modeler

    Investigating the accumulation of plastic in front of the barrier.

    Varied background ranging from hands-on construction to environmental engineering.

    Hoping to find a way to make use of his paraglider in the Netherlands.

  • 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)

  • Jaap Spaans
    Jaap Spaans, BSc

    Working on the Pacific Ocean System, the system that will take out plastic from the oceans.

    Previously Design Engineer at Huisman Equipment, Dive instructor and draftsman at Royal HaskoningDHV.

    As a scuba diver did coral reef clean-ups, now happy to join the biggest ocean clean-up in history.

  • 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

  • Jetteke Flick
    Modelling & Simulation Intern
    Jetteke Flick, BSc
    Modelling & Simulation Intern

    BSc in Aerospace Engineering

    Investigating the interaction between the barrier and the water

    Can spend hours watching the ballet of a lion's mane jellyfish

  • 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

  • Josee Meiners
    HR Manager & Office
    Josee Meiners
    HR Manager & Office

    High energy HR manager & problem solver

    Living on a sailing boat, clean water is so important to me. That’s why I put my experience and energy in The Ocean Cleanup mission.

  • 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

  • Kees van Oeveren
    Mechatronics Engineer
    Kees van Oeveren, MSc
    Mechatronics Engineer

    Developping plastic sensing techniques.

    MSc Energy & Environmental Sciences.

    Passionate about kitesurfing and DIY music electronics.

  • Laurent Lebreton
    Numerical Modeler
    Laurent Lebreton, MSc
    Numerical Modeler

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

    Ocean lover, surfer and globetrotter

  • Leanne Brits
    Recycling Engineer
    Leanne Brits, MSc
    Recycling Engineer

    MSc Chemical Engineering

    Transitioned from Academia to R&D, always focussing on chemical analysis

    Travel and Tea enthusiast

  • 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

  • Menno Bijl
    Project Engineer
    Menno Bijl, MSc
    Project Engineer

    Picking-up everything that is required to assist the team in setting and reaching our goals.

    Grew up in Offshore Engineering for the Oil and Gas industry. Developed into a QA/QC Engineer, later QA/QC Manager and Project Engineering Manager.

    Crossed the Atlantic Ocean on board a sailing vessel in 2015.

  • Michelle Loozen
    Hydraulic Engineer
    Michelle Loozen, MSc
    Hydraulic Engineer

    Studied Coastal and River Engineering at the Technical University of Delft.

    Now putting technical knowledge to use by participating in a spectacular project.

    Impulsive, curious and seeking challenges. A bit scared by the ocean, but can't resist its mystery.

  • Peter Wiersum
    Site Manager
    Peter Wiersum
    Site Manager

    Preparing and managing local operations

    Represented the Netherlands at the Beijing, London and Rio Olympic Games.

    Former world champion and Olympic bronze medallist coxing the Dutch men’s rowing team.

  • 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

  • Raghavendra Sharma
    Environmental Researcher
    Raghavendra Sharma, MSc
    Environmental Researcher

    Working on Remote Sensing and Geo-spatial applications to make The Ocean Cleanup endeavors even more successful.

    MSc in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. Digging deep into Machine Learning and LiDAR Remote Sensing.

    Enthusiastic, self-motivated, results-driven professional who wants to build useful applications by leveraging earth observation data that would lead to a sustainable environment.

  • Reijnder de Feijter
    Hydrodynamic Engineer
    Reijnder de Feijter, MSc
    Hydrodynamic Engineer

    Investigating the structural and hydrodynamic response of the cleanup system

    Divides even his lunch into finite elements

    Passionate about eco friendly motorsports

  • 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

  • Rob Koning
    Project Planner
    Rob Koning, BSc
    Project Planner

    Plan the work, support the team to work the plan.

    Background in Project Control Management on turnaround, maintenance and EPC(I) projects.

  • Robbert Sint Jago
    Mechanical Engineer
    Robbert Sint Jago, MSc
    Mechanical Engineer

    Graduated specializing in hydromechanics at the Technical University of Delft.

    Passionate about most things that involve both technical analyses and sustainable technologies.

    Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real. (Tupac Shakur)

  • 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

  • Rogier Reker
    Social Media Advisor
    Rogier Reker
    Social Media Advisor

    Assisting the communications team on social media strategy.

    6 years of experience in social media and content creation for large organisations such as KLM.

    Impulsive & curious. Outdoor person. Cycled from Amsterdam to Barcelona because of a bet. Raised next to the ocean.

  • Ruud Schrama
    Project Director
    Ruud Schrama, BSc
    Project Director

    Responsible for the design and execution of the Pilot.

    Bringing 32 years of offshore experience to ensure safety, quality and scheduling on this challenging project.

    Born and raised in the country side, always been close to mother nature. Managed that no plastic bottles and cups were used on an 18-months lasting project on the Indian Ocean.

  • Selma Damsteeg
    Mechanical Engineer
    Selma Damsteeg, MSc
    Mechanical Engineer

    Working on the extraction system.

    First job after graduating from TU Delft.

    Excited about applying engineering skills to help tackle the plastic problem.

  • Siiri Hatakka
    Project Engineer
    Siiri Hatakka, MSc
    Project Engineer

    MSc. Economics, Corporate Environmental Management

    Working on recycling strategy for the Ocean Plastic

    Background in Environmental Management and Health & Safety

  • Siwam Gupta
    Financial Assistant
    Siwam Gupta, BBA
    Financial Assistant

    Proud member of a team that makes the world a better place to live in.

    Success to me is growing as a person every day to reach my full potential and doing the things I love.

  • 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

  • Wessel van Ekeren
    Recycling Engineer Intern
    Wessel van Ekeren
    Recycling Engineer Intern, BSc

    MSc Student Materials Science and Engineering

    Working on recycling possibilities of ocean plastics. Focusing on the compounding of degraded polypropylene and polyethylene.

    Life goal: living in a world with everyday products made from ocean plastics.

Supervisory board

Chris van der Vorm Communications
Evert Greup Funding and finance
Frederik Gerner Technology and R&D
Rutger Arisz Organization & Business Development

Scientific advisory board

Prof. Alex Oude Elferink International Law of the Sea, Utrecht University
Prof. Charitha Pattiaratchi Physical Oceanography, University of Western Australia
Prof. Gerhard J. Herndl Ecology and Biological Oceanography, University of Vienna
Prof. Mirek Kaminski Offshore Structures, Delft University of Technology
Dr. Richard Spinrad Marine Technology and Oceanography, Marine Technology Society
Frederik Gerner Chairman on behalf of The Ocean Cleanup

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. Read more about what has happened since on our milestones page.

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