The Ocean Cleanup has deployed a 100 meter-long barrier segment in the North Sea, 23 km off the coast of The Netherlands. It is the first time our barrier design is being put to the test in open waters.


The prototype will show us how The Ocean Cleanup’s floating barrier fares in extreme weather at sea – the kind of conditions the system will eventually face when deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The Ocean Cleanup’s technology makes use of long floating barriers which act as an artificial coastline, passively catching and concentrating ocean debris, powered by the ocean’s natural currents. Because the barriers are at the surface of the ocean, it will be subjected to the most extreme conditions, and hence it’s of paramount importance we test the barriers in those conditions.  


To investigate the survivability of our design, we deployed a full-scale barrier segment in the North Sea.

At this test site, conditions during a minor storm are more severe than those in exceptionally heavy storms (occurring once every 100 years) in the Pacific Ocean.

Sensors will track every motion of the prototype and the loads it is subjected to. The data gathered will enable engineers to develop a system fully resistant to severe conditions during the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


When we discover something on the prototype has malfunctioned or is broken, the part would be adjusted. If that new design solves the problem, the design has advanced, and if not, something else will be tested.

This is how we will iteratively get to a design we believe is suitable for the 2017 Pilot installation, and ultimately, for the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020.


 Watch the Prototype Unveil Event
June 22nd, 2016


Prototype installation by Boskalis


Environmental quickscan (PDF)