After five years of research, engineering and testing, we launched the world’s first ocean cleanup system from San Francisco Bay on September 8, 2018, marking the start of the cleanup.

The assembly of System 001 took place at the former Naval Air Station, in Alameda, California, beginning mid-March 2018. A total of 51 pipe sections were welded together to form the main element of the cleanup system, the 600-meter (2000-foot) floater, after which the 3-meter (10-foot) skirt, electronics and stabilizers were assembled.

In May 2017, we conducted a tow test of a 120-meter section to assess the system behavior in tow and the seaworthiness of the design. The segment was towed a total of 500 miles in multiple directions and at various sea states with the screen pulled up and again with it down. After the successful completion of the tow test, the assembly of the remainder of the system continued at the yard.

Tow-test of a segment of System 001, May 2018

Assembly was completed on August 30th, after which it was prepared for the tow out to the Pacific Ocean early morning local time on September 8th. The launch was livestreamed until the system had passed the Golden Gate Bridge and was on course to the open ocean. 

Rewatch the livestream from the launch on September 8

System 001 was towed to an intermediary test stop, 350 nautical miles offshore for the Pacific Trials before continuing its journey toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 1,200 nautical miles offshore. During the trials, we evaluated the system’s performance regarding its u-shape configuration and movement with the wind, currents and waves.


Successful u-shape installation during the first days of the Pacific Trials, September 2018

After successful testing, we determined that we could continue our journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as of October 2, 2018. This will be a long journey, as the average tow speed is 2-4 knots. We expect that the trip to the patch will take approximately two to three more weeks. Once it arrives, the cleanup will commence while we continue to monitor and test the system.

To find out more about the whereabouts of System 001 and its progress, see our dedicated System 001 page.