The Ocean CleanUp


Interview with Boyan Slat
Inventor – Founder,

Boyan Slat, a 19 yr old Dutch engineering student at Delft University of Technology, has invented a device that claims could clean up some 20 billion tonnes of plastic waste from the world’s oceans in next five years. He came up with the idea of a series of floating booms and processing platforms designed to collect floating plastic rubbish. The ‘ocean cleanup’ concept is designed to capture the floating plastic but allowing life like fish and plankton to pass through unharmed, while saving the waste materials to be recycled. This is Boyan’s interview regarding his invention:

Q: What made you to take on this research?
A: I was 16 years old, and I was diving in Greece, and suddenly I realized I came across more plastic bags than fish. For a high school science project I then dedicated half a year to understanding the problem itself, and why it’s so difficult to clean up. I’d always been interested in engineering, and then came up with a concept on how I thought we could feasibly clean the ocean garbage patches.

Q: Has it been applied already and what where the results?
A: In the past there have been many concepts aimed at cleaning plastic from the oceans, but these were all based on vessels with nets, that would fish for plastic. Not only would this take billions of dollars and 79000 years, but it would also create by-catch and emissions. Not a very attractive proposal. Furthermore the plastic rotates in the areas where the plastic concentrates, so it does not stay on one spot. So I wondered; why move through the oceans, if the oceans can also move through you? I came up with a passive system of floating barriers that is attached to the seabed, and oriented in a V-shape. The barriers first catch, and then concentrate the plastic, enabling a platform to efficiently extract the plastic once arrived in the center of the V. Please visit

Fig: Boyan Slat with his invention Ocean Clean Array
Q: What is this invention really and how costly is it for communities to apply it?
A: Now we start the second phase of the project, in which through a series of up-scaled tests we work towards a largescale and operational pilot in 3 years’ time. To help fund this next step, we have now launched a crowd funding campaign, in which we hope to raise over 2 million USD in 100 days. To campaign, that is still on schedule, can be found

Q: What is your advice regarding Ocean’s protection – can this invention help to protect the coral and fragile ecosystem in the world?
A: Yes it does. Millions of tons of plastic have entered the oceans, damaging ecosystems and entering the food chain. Although it’s essential to prevent more plastic from entering the oceans, the plastic that’s already trapped in the currents of the oceans doesn’t go away by itself.

Q: What is Boyan’s advice to Young Entrepreneur’s out there?
A: Don’t be afraid to think big, and use your age to your advantage.

Boyan Slat The Ocean Clean Up