Teen Engineer Invents Machine to Clean Ocean

Boyan Slat, born in Delft (South Holland) in ’94, has invented a massive garbage sifting machine to be put in the middle of the ocean. Theoretically, the five major currents of the ocean would push heaps of trash into the machine’s floating booms which would cover a large area but would not harm living organisms. Boyan writes, “No mesh means that even the smallest particles will be diverted and extracted. No mesh, together with its low speed, will result to virtually no by-catch. Although this hypothesis still has to be tested, even the planktonic species due to their density being close to that of the sea water—may move under the booms along with the water flow.”

Boyan has started The Ocean Cleanup Project which aims to extract 7,250,000,000 KG of plastic from the ocean in just five years. On Boyan’s website, he lists very simply, the problem in one line, and the solution in another:

Use Your Enemy to Your Advantage

Problem: The plastic is not static, it moves around.
Solution: Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? 
Fix the sea water processors to the sea bed, and save vast amounts of funds, manpower and emissions.


Problem: A clean-up operation would generate significant emissions. Besides that, in high seas much plastic would escape.
Solution: The platforms will be completely self-supportive, receiving their energy from e.g. the sun, currents and waves.
And by letting the platforms’ wings sway like an actual manta ray, we can ensure contacts of the inlets with the surface, even in the roughest weather


SONY DSCDoesn’t he look like the genius scientist son who saves the family and falls in love with an alien in a sci-fi movie?

Problem: Conventional clean-up ideas have never been financially realistic, let alone remediation of millions of square kilometres.
Solution: This concept is so efficient, that we estimate that by selling the plastic retrieved from the 5 gyres, we would make in fact more money than the plan would cost to execute. In other words; it may potentially be profitable.

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“Once there was a stone age, a bronze age, and now we are in a plastic age.”