Scale Model Testing

In 2015 a series of scale model tests of The Ocean Cleanup’s system was performed at world-renowned maritime research institutes Deltares and MARIN. Testing at a reduced scale allows for a high testing frequency at low cost. The main goal of the campaigns was to determine the loads and dynamics of the cleanup barriers when exposed to waves and currents. Results help to further improve the design, ensuring it will survive and be operable in storm conditions.

2D model tests at Deltares, Delft (NL)
2D model tests at Deltares, Delft (NL)


The first model tests took place at independent research institute Deltares, where one-dimensional scale model tests confirmed that the barrier efficiently captures small plastic particles, even in high (long-crested) waves. By generating artificial waves, currents and winds in this controlled environment, we were also able to accurately measure the forces that act on the boom and mooring lines.


In November 2015, we initiated the next series of tests at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN), an institute specialized in scale model testing for the Offshore and Naval industry.

3D model tests at Marin, Wageningen (NL)
The Ocean Cleanup testing at MARIN

For these tests, a segment of the Ocean Cleanup Array was constructed at 1:18 scale and floated in MARIN’s Offshore Basin in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The 20m scale model simulated 360 meters of barrier in real life and was tested in different wave and current load conditions. By applying ‘pre-tension’ to the barrier, we could even use the 20m model to simulate how it would behave if it would have been part of a barrier several kilometers in length. The tests were three-dimensional, revealing how the barrier will react to currents and waves coming from all directions.