The road to the cleanup

Mission 001 (i.e. System 001 and its variations) designs have been the world’s first cleanup systems to be trialed and utilized in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – the world’s largest accumulation zone of ocean plastics – situated halfway between Hawaii and California.

We have now proven our foundational concept with System 001/B, and will start the design process for System 002, which will become the first full-scale operational system that incorporates previous learnings. System 001/B will remain deployed for further and final testing until the end of November 2019.

System 001 Overview

Mission One

After 273 scale model tests, six at-sea prototypes, a comprehensive mapping of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) with 30 vessels and an airplane, and several technology iterations, we launched the world’s first cleanup system from San Francisco on September 8, 2018. During its approximate four months offshore, many aspects of the technology were proven, but it was observed that the system was not effectively retaining plastic. While the team was testing solutions, a fatigue fracture caused an 18-meter section of the system to detach. The crew and the system safely returned to shore on January 17, 2019, thus concluding the first campaign of System 001.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, September 8, 2018 – The Ocean Cleanup Deploying System 001 into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - Photo: Pierre AUGIER for The OCEAN CLEANUP

Proof of technology

During the System 001/B campaign, we managed to check off all items on our proof-of-concept checklist.

System 001/B Checklist (Updated 02.10.2019)
System 001/B Checklist (Updated 02.10.2019)

Press briefing

On October 2, 2019, we held a press briefing, explaining our observations with System 001/B and that we now are catching and retaining plastic. Although there is still much work to do, this was an essential step in further system developments. Read more in our press release or watch the full announcement.

Rewatch the press briefing, October 2nd

How it works

Our system takes advantage of natural oceanic forces to catch and concentrate plastic.