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Device that catches plastic waste deployed in Pacific Ocean

A 600-metre long device that catches plastic waste in the ocean has been released in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.

The Ocean Cleanup, the company behind the device, announced in late June the machine was on its way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The floating device was first deployed in September 2018, into the Great Pacific Patch, but it encountered issues. It had to be sent back for repair after the system did not maintain a sufficient speed, allowing plastic to exit the system, and a stress concentration caused a fatigue fracture in the HDPE floater.

After four months of design, procurement, assembly and repair the device System 001/B is hoped to help clean up large quantities of waste in the ocean.

To effectively remove vast amounts of plastic, the System 001/B needs to be able to catch and retain plastic for long periods of time with minimal plastic loss.

To retain the captured plastic, it is not as important if the system moves slower or faster than the plastic, rather the key is consistency, information from Ocean Cleanup indicated.

The system must always go faster than the plastic or always go slower than the plastic. Fluctuations in the speed will prevent the plastic from staying within the system – as was seen during the previous campaign.

Boyan Slat, creator of The Ocean Cleanup project, complemented the team behind the device, via Twitter, and wished for a better result than last time.

“Big compliments to the team for getting us ready for launch in record time. Going from an 18-month development cycle to one of less than 4 months was painful at times, but you did it.

“Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time. Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign,” Slat said.

Stat indicated the System 001/B is expected to reach the site on June 25.