While the idea to use passive systems to rid world’s oceans of plastic was first floated in 2012, it was still just that – an idea. In order to investigate whether the cleanup technology is indeed an effective method to remediate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, The Ocean Cleanup started off by performing a broad-scoped feasibility study, covering areas including engineering, oceanography and recycling.

A voluntary team of close to 100 scientists and engineers spend a year on completing the 528-page study, which was published on June 3rd, 2014.

Although a lot of the work is now outdated, the feasibility study provides insight in the early stages of The Ocean Cleanup, and some of its indicative conclusions remain relevant today.


 Main findings
  • Deploying a 100 km structure in the ocean and deploying it at 4500 m of depth is within the limits of what’s possible with state-of-the-art offshore technology
  • Initial modelling indicates that a single system, deployed for 10 years, can remove close to half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • Existing processing solutions are likely suitable for ocean plastic
  • A cleanup is very likely cheaper than the direct impact ocean plastic has on economies

Watch Boyan Slat unveil the Feasibility Study (2014):



Full Report (PDF)