The road to the cleanup

System 001 and its variations are designed to be the first cleanup systems that can 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. Once we have reached proven technology with System 001, we will be able to design System 002, which will become the blueprint for scaling up to full fleet.

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 returned to shore on January 17, 2019, thus concluding the first mission of System 001.

Proof of technology

Many key functions were confirmed during the deployment of System 001. However, in order to reach proof of technology, all six items from this checklist must be accomplished. With System 001/B, we are looking to confirm that the system moves through the water at one, consistent speed, and that it retains its integrity against the forces of the ocean.

System 001/B - Mission Plan

Road to relaunch

With the understandings from the root cause analysis, the engineering team began to work on solutions that we could start trialing in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) in June. The upgraded design, which we have dubbed System 001/B, will entail various modifications that will be tested during our next campaign.

Boyan Slat explains the design modifications and the test campaign taking place this summer.

How it works

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