Cleaning up the oceans with a giant floating barrier


Sustainability Problem: With the increasing worldwide population, the amount of plastic waste generated and landing up in the oceans is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. And not only is plastic waste a threat to marine life, but the current processes for collecting ocean trash is dispersed and energy intensive.

Technology: A non-profit from the Netherlands called the Ocean Cleanup Foundation may have found a solution for this with a 238 foot floating barrier to collect ocean trash such as bottles and bags. While still early, the organization has already began testing of a 100foot version of the barrier, which will include evaluation of the impact to the ocean ecosystem. The system aims to be a passive approach to collecting the plastic trash through currents without harming the marine life in the process, and has the benefit of being low maintenance and energy intensive to operate. The trash collected by the barrier will be recycled. If it proves successful, the plan is to install the large version of the barrier in the North Pacific in 2020.

A giant floating barrier might be the answer to cleaner oceans

Stakeholders: Consumers, Governments, Offshore operations, Plastics manufacturers, Marine institutions

Implementation: (1) Identify top offshore operations companies and marine institutes to create partnership opportunities for piloting the MVP technology. (2) Evaluate financing options such as opportunity size of recyclable plastic gathered in the pilot (and in future production version) that can be re-used and sold for profit to support the program. (3) Evaluate effectiveness and technology enhancement areas from the pilot, depending on key factors such as waste collected, impact to marine ecosystem, speed, coverage, etc. (4) Work with governmental organizations to determine and evaluate 2020 production plans for initial launch of the product after addition of the technology enhancements based on the trial.

mst2135 june 30, 2016


2 thoughts on “Cleaning up the oceans with a giant floating barrier

  1. Great post! I also wrote about pollution cluttering the oceans. Using the recycled plastic to make new products relates to my post about using it to make new fabric and clothing. I also found that they will be deploying a 100 meter-long barrier segment in the second quarter of 2016 in the North Sea, 23 km off the coast of The Netherlands. This will be the first time our barrier design will be put to the test in open waters!


  2. This looks great and has a lot of potential. Would there be any chance that animals such as seagulls might get stuck in the net as they dive for fish (this could also apply for sea organism which surface for breathing)?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s