Boyan Slat, a young Dutch aerospace engineering student at TU Delft, and a keen S.C.U.B.A. diver has managed to come up with, what seems to me, to be an elegant solution to cleaning up the worlds ocean’s from the debris and detritus that we humans have simply discarded and polluted during our everyday lives, whilst making a tidy profit at the same time.
Millions of tons of plastic kill ocean life and poison food chains, accumulate in areas such as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which are located at the top layers of the ocean’s five gyres, and Boyan sees opportunities to combat this. Combining environmentalism, creativity and technology to tackle this global issue, and at the same time, creating a new money spinning industry, he believes current prevention measures have to be supplemented by active removal of plastics in order to succeed.
His concept, called Marine Litter Extraction, won the Best Technical Design award 2012 at the TU Delft.
While researching ocean plastics during his school holidays, he analysed various fundamental topics (including particle sizes, plastic/plankton separation and the amount of plastic in the oceans), leading up to the first realistic concept for cleaning up the world’s oceans. Take a look at the video to find out how he proposes to do it.
And if you combine Boyan’s capture concept with Akinori Ito’s plastic recycling idea, mentioned in a previous Science Saturday post, then you have the makings of something truly great for the environment, whilst making a few quid on the side too!