We are The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup foundation

  • Founded 2013

  • Staff 50+

  • HQ Delft

Awards & Recognitions


  • 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

    Full bio, 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

  • André Vollering
    IT Support
    Andre Vollering, MSc
    IT Support

    Master Bioinformatics

    I fix computer related problems

  • Anna Schwarz
    Research Assistant
    Anna Schwarz, MSc
    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
    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
    Concept Development Lead
    Arjen Tjallema, MSc
    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
    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

  • Edoardo Volpe
    Naval Architect
    Edoardo Volpe, MSc
    Naval Architect

    Naval Architect focused in structure and composite materials.

    Sailing yacht engineering fanatic, rerouted my career to help to clean the oceans, no reason to design yacht for sailing in a plastic dump.

  • 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
    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

  • 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
    Modelling & Simulation Intern
    Hendrik Wrenger, BSc
    Modelling & Simulation Intern

    Investigating the accumulation of plastic in front of the barrier.

    Varied background ranging from hands-on construction to now studying MSc. water and environment.

    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)

  • 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

  • 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 Modeller
    Laurent Lebreton, MSc
    Numerical Modeller

    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

  • Mark Pijnappels
    Mark Pijnappels, MSc

    Busy adding more faces on this page

    25+ years of helping the brightest of engineers make life-changing choices

    As a glider pilot, has seen the skies clear up in a 20-year stretch of time. Convinced that we can and will Cleanup the Oceans.

  • 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.

  • 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
    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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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
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.

Build a clean future

Apply your engineering talent to solving real problems.