The Ocean Cleanup's first attempt to collect plastic was deployed last year, with the System 001, also known as Wilson. After months of testing, the organization took Wilson back to port in the first days of this year after it suffered a fatigue fracture.
Following the system's first attempt to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from marine plastics that was interrupted due to unscheduled issues in late 2018, the System 001/B was being tested to address the complications and challenges; Its trial aimed at correcting the inconsistent speed difference between the system and the plastic.
The developers of the system corrected the speed by slowing it down with a parachute sea anchor, allowing for faster-moving plastic debris to float into the system.
The initiative will begin designing its next ocean cleanup system, System 002; a full-scale cleanup system that is able to both endure and retain the collected plastic for long periods of time.
Moreover, the system does not only collect visible pieces of plastic and ghost nets, but it also captures microplastics as small as 1mm – a feat we were pleasantly surprised to achieve.
In light of the success, Boyan Slat, CEO and Founder of the Ocean Cleanup, commented
After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights.