Press release

The Ocean Cleanup Raises 21.7 Million USD in Donations to Start Pacific Cleanup Trials

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Donors include Silicon Valley philanthropists Marc & Lynne Benioff, as well as Peter Thiel and other supporters.

DELFT, THE NETHERLANDS, May 3, 2017 – The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, today announced that it has successfully raised 21.7 million USD in donations since last November. This latest funding round brings The Ocean Cleanup’s total funding since 2013 to 31.5 million USD. This new contribution allows The Ocean Cleanup to initiate large-scale trials of its cleanup technology in the Pacific Ocean later this year.

This significant funding round is led by San Francisco-based philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff and an anonymous donor. Other supporters include the Julius Baer Foundation, Royal DSM, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur/investor Peter Thiel.

Over the past four years, The Ocean Cleanup has been developing a passive plastic capturing technology, which uses the ocean currents to catch and concentrate the plastic, reducing the theoretical cleanup time of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from millennia to years. The Ocean Cleanup aims to launch its first experimental cleanup system in Pacific waters by late 2017. It will represent the most important milestone on the road to the full-scale cleanup of the world’s oceans.

Details on this project and the start of the cleanup will be shared with 3000 of our supporters at an event on Thursday, May 11th at the Werkspoorkathedraal in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and will be followed by a media Q&A.

“Lynne and I are thrilled to support The Ocean Cleanup’s important goal of eliminating plastic in our oceans,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman, and CEO, Salesforce. “With Boyan’s innovative leadership, I believe The Ocean Cleanup will have an incredibly positive impact on the future of our oceans. I hope other leaders will join us in supporting these efforts.”

Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, stated: “Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight.”




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About The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Founded in 2013 by then 18-year-old Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup now employs approximately 65 engineers and researchers. The foundation is headquartered in Delft, The Netherlands. Instead of going after plastic debris with vessels and nets – which would take many thousands of years and billions of dollars to complete – The Ocean Cleanup is developing a network of long floating barriers that act as an artificial coastline, enabling the natural ocean currents to concentrate the plastic. Besides, The Ocean Cleanup designs processes to turn recovered ocean plastic into valuable raw materials.

In preparation for full-scale deployment, The Ocean Cleanup organized several expeditions to map the plastic pollution problem in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with unprecedented detail. Meanwhile, the team has advanced its design through a series of rapid iteration scaling-up tests, followed by a 100-meter prototype, that was deployed on the North Sea in June 2016. The next step will be the launch and deployment of the Pacific Pilot, late 2017.