Road to the cleanup

This summer, The Ocean Cleanup will attempt to launch its first cleanup system inside the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Follow the journey as we finalize engineering, procurement and testing system components in the months leading up to the deployment.

  1. We confirmed the final order for the first full length floater, officially kicking off the procurement phase.

    Procurement is a challenge of its own considering the scale of our system and the tight planning we're committed to follow. Finding the right suppliers, running quality checks and negotiating prices usually takes months.

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  2. November (2017)

  3. The floater of the first ocean cleanup system is in production. The floater is the part of the system that is responsible for catching surface plastic and keep the system afloat. Once completed it will be 600 meters in length, and have a diameter of 1.2 meters.

    Other system components will follow over the next few months and will be transported to our assembly line in San Francisco.

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  4. All 51 sections of the first ocean cleanup system’s floater are now out of the manufacturing plant.

    After final handling, they will be sent out to the assembly site in California.

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  5. "Preparing for the cleanup, next few weeks will mostly be spent on the finishing touches of the design. Final material choices, detailing connections, configuring the electrical instrumentation. Can’t wait to see it all come together."

    via @boyanslat

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  6. January

  7. The engineering team ran scale model tests to determine whether we should ballast the screen with a continuous ballast chain or use discrete ballast elements.

    The test results will provide the team with important information for the final screen design.

  8. Floater elements of the cleanup system #1 are now in transit to California.

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  9. February

  10. The engineering team is nearing final design of the first cleanup system electronics. Multiple electronic “pods" will be assembled to the floater.

    Their solar panels will power everything from navigation lights and AIS to monitoring sensors and cameras.

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  11. "We are excited to announce that Alameda will be home to @TheOceanCleanup’s first cleanup system. This passive drifting system is set to begin cleaning plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this summer. It's time for the largest cleanup in history. #loveourisland #alamtg"

    via @CityofAlameda

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  12. Together with the City of Alameda, we signed a lease agreement for portions of the former Alameda Naval Air Station, a peninsula now known as Alameda Point.

    Located on San Francisco Bay, this is the site where assembly of the first cleanup system will begin within the next month.

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  13. A new ocean cleanup prototype is being deployed on the North Sea today. It is one of the last steps as we prepare to launch the first cleanup system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this summer.

    To understand how we arrived at this point, here is a brief history of the North Sea prototypes, and the reasons why we're deploying another one.

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  14. "Welcoming name suggestions for Cleanup System #1. Hope we can do a better job this time than we did with the prototypes"

    via @boyanslat

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  15. March

  16. The final design of the system's towhead is confirmed.

    The data gathered during the tow-test on the North Sea Prototype a week ago gave the engineers enough confidence to move ahead with this key component of the system.

  17. The first parts have safely arrived at our Alameda Yard.

    We expect to commence the assembly of cleanup system #1 next week.

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  18. We caught up with our Project Engineer on the Assembly Yard in Alameda just before the first components of cleanup system #1 arrived on site.

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  19. The screen production for the first cleanup system is well underway.

    The first batch of 120 meters has left our manufacturing site and is now in transit to the Assembly yard.

  20. April

  21. The crew has succesfully completed the first weld of two floater sections, officially marking the beginning of the assembly.

    In total, 51 of these sections will be put together. At the 120-meter mark, we will take the system out for a tow-test.

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  22. The assembly of the first cleanup system made great progress over the last few days.

    The completion of the first 120-meter section for the upcoming tow-test is now in sight.

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  23. Having completed all welds for the 120-meter test section, the assembly crew has now moved into the screen assembly phase.

    The tow-test is scheduled to occur within the next two weeks, weather permitting.

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  24. May

  25. An update on our recent scale model tests, the most advanced we have conducted so far.

    Our preliminary conclusions from the tests are that the motions and forces are in the range of what we expected based on our numerical modeling.

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  26. As the tow test of the 120-meter unit approaches, Boyan summarizes what is left to accomplish before we launch the first cleanup system into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch later this summer.

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  27. Just before we put the 120-meter section into the water for the tow test, here’s a recap of the work accomplished on the assembly yard for the first cleanup system.

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  28. The 120-meter tow test unit is now completely lowered into the lagoon, where it will receive full inspection and final checks before departure.

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  29. Our tow test has left Alameda and is on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

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  30. We have successfully initiated our 120-meter tow test unit towards its designated test pattern approximately 50 nautical miles outside of San Francisco’s Golden Gate.

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  31. Checking progress on the assembly of the first cleanup system’s electronic components.

    The system will rely on the sun to power everything from AIS, satellite communications, cameras and sensors.

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  32. "Meanwhile on the Pacific Ocean, the tow test is plowing through 10-15ft waves..."

    via @boyanslat

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  33. The team is taking advantage of a calm weather window to inspect the 120-meter test section.

    They just reported that the system came out of last week's rough testing conditions without significant issues.

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  34. June

  35. The offshore crew made it back into the San Francisco Bay after more than two weeks testing the 120-meter unit in towing configuration.

    Test results will be shared as we process them.

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  36. This clip we received from the assembly yard could make you think the crew lost their mind...

    ... but the reason they just cut the 120-meter tow test unit in half is to move ahead with the assembly of the full 600-meter system.

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  37. With the tow test successfully completed, the yard crew received the green light to continue the assembly.

    The test piece has now been cut in half, allowing us to put the remaining sections in between in the coming weeks.

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  38. Now

  39. Q3 2018 | PACIFIC TRIALS

    System 001 will be towed approx. 240 nautical miles off the coast and launched in operational configuration for the first time, as a final rehearsal.

  40. Q3 2018 | LAUNCH

    System 001 will be towed out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, approx. 1200 nautical miles offshore to start the cleanup.

Pacific Ocean System 001
Deployment Timeline

Visiting the assembly yard in Alameda back in early April, Boyan Slat summarizes what is left to accomplish before we launch the first cleanup system into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch later this summer.