What did the Boyan Slat and the Ocean Cleanup do last summer?

Because I haven’t written an update on the Ocean Cleanup and Boyan Slat in a while…

They deployed a 100-m long prototype

that is really 30-year old RO-BOOM technology

with some new fancy hardware.


Deployed in only 30 m of water

during a calm summer

the prototype failed after 2 months.

Because shackles.

It cost $2 million euros

and collected ZERO pieces of plastic.

If you, like me, are concerned about plastic in the ocean consider helping groups like The Ocean Conservancy who collected more than 18 million pounds of trash during the 2015 Coastal Ocean Cleanup or Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel who has collected 1,050,540 lbs. of trash from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor since May 9, 2014. The problem of ocean plastic isn’t solved yet.




10 Replies to “What did the Boyan Slat and the Ocean Cleanup do last summer?”

  1. Even better, support groups like Upstream (http://upstreampolicy.org) and others working on source reductions and take steps to reduce your personal use of single-use plastics. No matter what the technology, we’re never going to be able to create a output pipe as big as our current input pipe (~4.8-12.7 million metric tons according to Jambeck, 2015).

  2. So frustrating dealing w Dunning-Kreuger types like this, who think it’s ‘possible! if you only dare to dream!’ bc they have no idea of what even the barest parameters of the problems are, whatever the field.

    It’s worst of all when they’re your boss and you can’t convince them until you run the (foregone) experiment, sometimes three and four times, because they’re sure you must have done it wrong, because their idea was so ‘brilliant’ – and now you’re behind schedule and over budget, because of all the time and resources you had to waste showing them that it really, really wasn’t…

  3. Hello,

    Thanks for the update on the Boyan Slat thing.
    Do you have any links about the failure of the prototype ?
    I searched around and everything I found says everythings OK, prototype still there.

    What’s the deal on the 2X 0.5M EUR ?
    Are you saying that Mummy and Daddy (my supposition) pocketed that much cashola ?

  4. I’ve heard conflicting stories about the Pacific Garbage Gyre …

    A. There is a big concentrated patch of floating plastic objects – practically an island

    B. There is a big diffuse area of small suspended plastic particles which one might sail through without recognizing it

    C. some combination

  5. It’s not an island, but more like a diffuse area of big and small pieces of plastic. That’s not counting all the plastic that sinks.

  6. Sailed through atlantic and pacific gyre by now and from the top you cant really tell its there. Lots of small pieces most of them just below the surface… nothing visible which makes it easy to ignore the problem.
    Even bigger problem is in the deep sea, where the majority of the plastic ends up.
    Most efficient way everyone can help, avaidplastic whenever possible and clean up on beaches and make sure it gets to a recycling facility! We already collected a good ton this year in lonely islands of Myanmar and still doing more cleanips every week!

  7. Yup. Though Dr Martini, I’m not sure I’d suggest Ocean Conservancy as a group to support. Sadly their funding relationship with Coca-Cola seems to have silenced their voice in criticising Cokes substantial plastic pollution contribution and incessant lobbying against bottle bills. Ocean Conservancy also seems to be supporting Coke and Dow Packagings effort to frame “5 Asian countries” as the main culprit for plastic pollution. The real question should be which 5 corporations produce most of the worlds plastic pollution.

  8. It’s of course good that you alert us for what you think someone is doing badly, it’s a very serious stuff, after all, but, wouldn’t it be nice too, trying not to think so sanctimoniously about what others are doing ? are they not trying to revert the shit we’ve being doing for decades ?
    Why can’t your way and Boyan’s way be added ?
    Why must there only be one right way to do things ?

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