The Ocean Cleanup to begin removal of plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch immediately
The Ocean Cleanup, the non-profit developing and scaling technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, has shown proof of technology upon returning to Victoria Harbour with trash collected from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. With this confirmation, the organization will immediately return to the infamous gyre to start cleaning the ocean's largest accumulation of plastic debris.
Eight years after its founding and three years since launching its first cleanup system, the organization has effectively harvested plastic with a scalable ocean cleanup design. The Ocean Cleanup has ended its testing campaigns in the gyre, shifting its focus to cleanup; while, simultaneously, initiating the development of the larger, upgraded System 003, which is expected to be the blueprint design for scaling to a fleet of systems.
Throughout the years of developing this novel ocean technology, The Ocean Cleanup has continually improved on its cleanup design, working towards a fleet of systems capable of eradicating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. With System 002, also known as "Jenny," it has successfully achieved this confirmation by repeatedly harvesting plastic, from tiny debris fragments to immense ghost nets.
From nine test extractions, the organization collected a total of 28,659 kilograms (63,182 pounds) of plastic from the ocean, of which 9,014 kilograms (or 19,872 pounds) was removed in a single haul. To authenticate claims of origin and amount, all harvested plastic is and will be tracked, traced, and verified through certification body DNV using its identity preserved chain of custody model.
In tandem with cleanup operations, development of System 003 will begin. The Ocean Cleanup intends to remain operational with System 002 until deploying System 003. The design of System 003, which at a length of 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) is expected to be three times larger, will incorporate some insights collected from the System 002 test campaign.
With environmental protection being paramount to all its efforts, the organization will continue environmental monitoring and data collection and moving forward in an environmentally responsible, step-by-step approach. Additionally, all carbon emissions from the System 002 campaign will be offset with the aim of reaching carbon neutrality and, in collaboration with Maersk, the organization is experimenting with low-carbon fuels for support vessels.
The design of System 003 is expected to be the blueprint from which the organization can develop a fleet of systems for cleaning the oceans, starting with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Based on findings from previous test campaigns, the organization expects to deploy a fleet of ten systems capable of reducing 50 percent of the gyre every five years. Meanwhile, its efforts to stop plastic from entering the ocean via rivers will continue with new Interceptor projects planned to begin this year and next.
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.