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The Ocean Cleanup Project

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posted on Oct, 25 2018 @ 11:36 AM

Source for both: twitter, @theoceancleanup

First plastic in System-001 (aka, "Wilson")!!

It is picking up smaller plastics which is cool. Some pieces might be escaping which will need to be figured out. Very nice to see that it is not trapping wildlife!

WILSON! (he yelled as the volleyball floats away from the raft)

They have set it adrift in GPGP! That was the launch ship finishing its duty. They have a ship monitoring and a different Maersk ship will retrieve System-001.

They are going to do a study of the plastic retrieved. Previous tweet said it will take about 6 months for the plastic to make it back to shore. Add the study time and it looks to be about another year before another launch.

Mark the date: Oct. 25, 2018, Wilson is on its own in the GPGP doing its job!

posted on Oct, 25 2018 @ 02:23 PM
a reply to: KilgoreTrout

Every night they burn. I see black smoke at night, so I go over and ask him 'why are you trying to kill me?' They ignore me," he said.

In the nearby district of Kuala Langat, authorities found 41 factories operating illegally, many of them run by Chinese companies, according to Housing Minister Zuraida. Around 30 were shut down by authorities in the last three months after residents complained of open burning of plastic and health complications., Oct. 25, 2018 - Swamped with plastic waste: Malaysia struggles as global scrap piles up.

This is just a huge mess (plastic recycling). First, China stops accepting plastic by imposing a ridiculous "contamination" percent on imported plastic (something like 0.5 % per ton on barges carrying multiple tons). Next, China outsources to surrounding countries like Malaysia who found a dozen illegal plastic recyclers who may or may not be even recycling the plastic! Mostly, the plastic that cannot be recycled (most of it) is being burned. Burned plastic is worse than just plastic.

And it just keeps piling up as the population increases.

The mantra from the 70's is, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

With Reduction not happening, Re-use and Recycle are Retarded (as in, "being slowed down").

This is a global problem that needs to be addressed from a global view. How this will be done... idk.

Maybe technology can break down plastic into useful substances like hydrogen for fuel, or, back to basic constituents that make up plastics (so called, "recycle to oil"), may help but they are still being researched so it may be years away.

But first things first. We start trying to clean the ocean of the free-floating plastic garbage.

Another read: - The Complex and Frustrating Reality of Recycling Plastic.

posted on Oct, 25 2018 @ 03:21 PM
Thank you for a really uplifting thread. This is so exciting. One person with strong intentions can make a difference.

posted on Oct, 26 2018 @ 04:35 AM

Some semi-uplifting news on the "re-use" front...IKEA have made a commitment to recycle recovered plastics in manufacturing some of their products.

The article is not in English (I saw it via Reddit) but I am sure you can pop it in a translator or some such if you are terribly interested.

Discussion on Reddit...

It's a start. And breakthroughs are being made on the microbial level too in terms of identifying species who can break down plastics and other toxic wastes, even nuclear it seems. Individuals need to be more aware myself included obviously, about all the waste that we produce the vast majority of which is just packaging and throwaway items like face and baby wipes. If we stop buying the #, they'll stop making it and have to come up with new, more sustainable solutions...or their competitors will.

Anyway, chin up

posted on Nov, 2 2018 @ 05:41 PM
No news this week.

Boyan Slat tweeted he hoped have some news next week.

I guess we wait.

posted on Nov, 7 2018 @ 01:54 PM
Over at the website's live tracker, they now have a System-001 camera from a mast of some sort. You go to the live tracker and there is a camera icon from where Wilson currently is, you can click on it to get as current a pic as possible.

The map also shows the current current pattern. I was checking it out when Wilson turned with the current!

System-001 live tracker

posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 02:42 PM
Mr. Slat has a 4-week video review up at his twitter account (not sure how to link a tweet as it is posted):

He admits that Wilson has been having issues but also mentions that there was only one way to actually test System-001: live in the GPGP. There is a nice overview of what issues they resolved and what has them "doing work". Wind seems to be something they misunderestimated.

Over at @TheOceanCleanup on twitter, shared via re-tweet, the Maersk crew monitoring Wilson took the time to snag a "ghost net" (free floating fishing net collecting up plastics and wildlife). Last week here in the AK, we a humpback whale caught in on (on Thanksgiving Day, iirc) that was freed by rescue crew (frickn' sad that we have to have a dedicated group that does nothing but run around and try to help marine life caught in nets around Alaska.
), that made the news.

Thanks to both crews for clearing those nets!!

posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 03:29 PM
First time seeing this thread. I'd read about the proposals and some of the early tests elsewhere, but not this attention to detail. Interesting.

I wonder though; there's a lot of big stuff floating around in the Pacific (i.e. sunken small boats, large buoys, mooring fenders, partially submerged shipping containers. etc.), so what happens when the boom comes into contact with these items? Does a ship have to travel out to the boom to de-foul it of these items? Because the boom surely can't contain these items, and certainly not in storm conditions without being damaged itself.

Additionally, it kind of seems like the proverbial cart may be in front of the horse with this effort. Worldwide recycling efforts are a pretty shady and shaky affair (illustrated in this thread also). I spent quite a bit of time in Malaysia, and better than half the time 'recycling' just means hiding stuff were the masses can't see it. Out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. India and places like Bangladesh are 1000x worse. They take the stuff and get subsidies for recycling then just dump it and keep the money.

I haven't looked into the financials recently, but several years ago when I did there was no (as in zero) way to make a profit on recycling, it's a losing proposition. Some plastics can be recycled, but as noted, many cannot and disposing of these is a fairly costly effort. In many ways plastic is like nuclear waste. You can't really get rid of it, but some of it can be reprocessed, after which you just wind up with a more concentrated waste product. That has positive results for 'a while', but it's not sustainable in the long term because you just wind up with a 10x bigger problem later.

Don't get me wrong, I totally applaud this effort. But I think we have to recognize it's getting attention because it's very visible (the garbage) and it appeals to a lot of people so it's kind of a 'feel good' measure with broad support. I mean, who doesn't want to clean up the ocean, right? Unfortunately, the realities of the real hard-core recycling efforts also have a very nasty side to them which people choose to ignore because it doesn't 'feel good'. Case in point, some of these plastics have to be destroyed (i.e. they can't be recycled) and in these cases the destruction process requires incinerating which comes with toxic gases and pollution in a different form. People and governments are increasingly highly restrictive on allowing such facilities in their countries and states. So we wind up with "Recycling is great...just so long as you don't do it in my backyard"...types of mentality. This just makes the problem harder to solve because this is where all the shady characters make their billions in profit.

I hate to say it, but at the end of the day, recycling is going to need to be made profitable. Until it is, I doubt it is sustainable.

Just some thoughts.
edit on 11/26/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 03:55 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I've been following this for a while.

Right now, recycling is kind of a pipe dream as most manufacturers want "clean" plastic (never used). Then there are the different grades of plastic some of which, yes, can not be recycled. But I also think we can no longer "do nothing" and let the Garbage Patches around the world continue to accumulate more plastics. This, right now, is not about "making money" but "doing the right thing". I think the Ocean Cleanup already know that they are not going to be making any money which is why it is all donation driven right now.

This is the first "real world" test. So the big items like shipping containers have yet to be encountered! This is out in the middle of the Pacific in on the ocean's gyre so there is nothing to snag on the bottom (the "net" only goes so far below the surface). They have not encountered any wildlife either which will be another hurdle for them when that happens. They are still working their design on the water (last tweet was they were going to extend the opening wider to keep issues of plastic entering, then leaving, from happening). This is truly a work in progress. After this trial, they are going to do a study of what worked, what didn't, what type of plastic they found, where it come from, etc.

First steps. We are all watching and waiting. Maybe in the future, we can break plastic back down to its basic ingredients to truly recycle back to clean plastics industry wants; or, even better, break all plastics into hydrogen for use as a fuel source. Even TOCP admits that cleaning up the GPGP is just part of the problem and we need to cut down manufacturing, dumping, increase recycling, and all other steps to address plastics in the environment.

After the stuff you can see is still all the mircoplastics that needs to be cleaned up.

But first things first, let's try and clean up our current mess.

And as has been said earlier, it is always nice to hear some good news!

FYI, this is the first of an envisioned 60 autonomous booms they want to release in the next 4-5 years. They believe that if this works, they can deploy all of those and clean up a large percentage of current garbage out there. The next run after this one will be later fall next year, or even early spring, 2020, according to their web posts. My fingers are crossed!

posted on Nov, 26 2018 @ 07:06 PM

I actually think the techology works pretty well. I can see some potential flaws, but it works better than anything anyone else has come up with.

I remember when I was over in SE Asia, you could go in a store and they would FORCE a plastic bag on you. Even if you didn't want your stuff in a bag, they'd give you one anyway. I never could figure that out...UNTIL, I talked to my Chinese landlord one time. You see, in Chinese culture, paper is a "gift", so flowing out of the Asian culture they want to give you a gift for being a customer, hence the plastic bags. There's F#'ing plastic bags everywhere! Just because of this mentality. Giving paper would be the equivalent of 'love/romantic like', but plastic is just a "thanks" for being a customer. It's crazy! And millions, upon billions, of plastic bags go out to sea on garbage scows to be dumped. That's why. I've seen it, in person!

Case in point, the Malay's take it far enough off shore to not mess with their turtle populations (for which they are famous)..........but they still take all that trash off-shore and dump it in the sea. As sad as it is, it's a really interesting process. They don't just throw all this stuff in a bin and then haul it out to sea. No, the carefully take all the air out of it and roll it down so it's dense and will sink. Then they tow these big barges out into deep water and flood them. They actually sink (for a while). All the refuse sinks to the bottom and they pump the water out of the barges and refloat them.

Seem's evil, huh???

BUT, the US does the EXACT same thing!! It's just in the Atlantic, rather than the Pacific!

posted on Nov, 28 2018 @ 07:43 PM
Who's mess is this really?

posted on Nov, 28 2018 @ 10:08 PM
a reply to: InTheLight

When I was working over in Malaysia, you couldn't go in a store where they would NOT give you a plastic bag for whatever you bought! Seriously! The would shove the plastic bag on you, even if you didn't put your stuff in it and told them to keep it. You literally could NOT leave the store without a plastic bag! If you did, they'd come out after you and just throw it at you. It was almost a dishonor to them not to take the "gift" of a plastic bag. It was unreal actually.

True story.

I learned later that there was a Chinese custom about paper, and paper was a valued gift. So, you never got a paper bag, only plastic, but from a culture perspective they needed to reward you with something for being a customer. Plastic bags were cheap, and paper was a "gift" you got plastic.

If you look into wedding lore, 'paper' is a wedding anniversary gift, and I think this has something to do with it. Plastic is not a wedding gift, hence plastic to say "thank you" for being a customer.

Believe me, I don't understand, but I experienced it first hand for many years!!

ETA - for this reason, it is almost unbelievably difficult to get a paper napkin at an eatery in many places in deep Asia. To's a "gift". You might get one small one at some good places, but try to get a second (or ten) and they will stall you all the way!! They just will NOT give you paper!! They will give you a cloth, which they wash, before they will give you paper which you're going to throw away.

It's superstition I think.

ETA2 - This (I am also convinced) is why it's almost impossible to find toilet paper in bathrooms across deep Asia. (wipe your butt with a "gift" and then throw it away...massive cultural insult and generally bad..ju-ju...for them!)

edit on 11/28/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/28/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 12:24 PM
Update on the recycling front!

Recycling Technologies has developed a RT7000 machine to recycle used plastic. The machine’s waste plastic recycling method uses a chemical recycling process that turns different types of plastic waste into a crude oil equivalent known as Plaxx. This substance can be used to create new plastic products.

The type of plastic waste that can be transformed into Plaxx include plastics that are difficult to recycle such as black plastics, crisp (chip) packets and food pouches.

The new facility from Recycling Technologies will be 25,000 square feet and will be built in Stirling Court, Swindon, a town in southwest England. The facility will allow the company to upscale the manufacturing of its RT7000 machines. These machines can be used in recycling centers across the UK and internationally.

The facility is expected to be capable of producing 200 of these machines every year to meet the increasing demand for plastic recycling capacity in the UK, Europe and around the world. The company expects to have its first commercial RT700 operational in 2019 at the Project Beacon recycling facility in Scotland., Nov. 29, 2018 - Waste plastic recycling in Europe to get a boost.

I knew there was a name for it: Plaxx. (That is the commercialized product name)

Plaxx is the product of the depolymerization of plastic and is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbon monomers similar to crude oil. It is however very low in sulphur and other organic/inorganic contaminants, and complies with new emission rules. Currently, it is a soft wax at room temperature but a low viscosity liquid at 70°C. As with crude oil, it can be further refined and could be used as an input to plastics manufacturing.

The research will develop the use of Plaxx by testing engine performance, exhaust emissions and engine wear on different engines over a broad range of test conditions. Also, software tools will be developed that will monitor these three aspects to enable engine users to achieve optimum performance from Plaxx. - Plaxx, a clean substitute for fossil-based heavy fuel oil?

Since has already been refined once into plastic, it should be rather "clean" when turned back into a hydrocarbon. That with the addition of some other stuff (maybe ethanol from CO2 in the air, or something? Ya know, two birds, one stone...) it could burned and converted to electricity; or, which I like, a source of hydrogen.

The "low sulfur" is a nice touch too! Sulfuric acid and sulfur dioxide come to mind as potential contaminants if burned (as would be NOX).

Anyway, had to share because this is a glimmer of hope against the ocean of plastic we currently live in!

posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 06:58 PM
And even more recycling news!!

PowerHouse Energy (PHE) Group has developed a process technology, known as DMG®, to convert waste plastic, end-of-life tyres and other wastes into EcoSynthesis gas, which can be used to create valuable products such as chemical precursors, hydrogen, electricity and other industrial products. The DMG® process can generate in excess of one tonne of road-fuel quality hydrogen and more than 28 megawatt hours of exportable electricity per day., Nov. 9, 2018 - Certification For UK Company Converting Waste Plastics to Hydrogen.

No word when or where but they have gone through the feasibility reports and do not see any issues with their plans.

RES Polyflow plans to break ground early next year on the first commercial-scale plant creating petroleum blends from nonrecycled plastic trash. A multimillion-dollar investment from Brightmark Energy and a possible bond sale will finance the construction of the $200 million plant, which will employ 136 people, RES Polyflow said Nov. 9., Nov. 9, 2018 (paywall, this is the teaser/lead to the story) - First Commercial Scale Plastic-to-Fuel Plant Coming to Indiana.

I think this one is also in the UK. (I was seeing if anything was happening with "plastic to fuel" and ran across these stories).

Delta wants to turn everyday plastics into jet fuel. The airline is partnering with a company out of Oregon called Agilyx to make it happen. The plan involves using a Pennsylvania refinery to convert plastic waste into usable fuel. Delta anticipates that the refinery will be able to process up to 2,500 barrels of oil each day by 2020. All of the work will be done through a Delta subsidiary called Monroe Energy. The location of the refinery in is a town called Trainer, Pennsylvania., Nov. 28, 2018 - delta's New Jet Fuel Will Be Made from Plastic.

This one could be huge! What better way to force people to recycle their plastics but being stuck at 30,000 feet!!

I think that as more and more people realize that plastic is mostly refined as is, and some chemistry and heat can get you something useful like fuel, or hydrogen, or new plastic feedstock, without having to spend as much money as starting from newly refined hydrocarbons, this will be more and more of an option.

The nice thing about all of these efforts, is that it reduces plastic production on the front end (ya know, "reduce"). That is part of the problem.

If you google, "plastic recycling", you will see that a bunch of companies are actually switching over to either recycled products or "plastics" that are biodegradable. So maybe without even knowing it, you will be pre-cycling your plastic! Or, I suppose you can get real paranoid, and say, "They are charging me a tax to use it. They are charging me a tax to recycle it. And they are turning around and taxing me again as they sell it back to me as fuel and/or more plastics."

I am just glad to see something (anything, really) happening. And if Delta saves money then other airlines will follow suit.

eta: No new news from @TheOceanCleanup. At their main web page, they did a write up of the first plastics and several issues they encountered (, Nov. 20): Wilson Update - Tweaking the System.

posted on Dec, 19 2018 @ 03:37 PM
Wilson is having issues. It is capturing floating plastics (they some naturally hang around the outside) but then the plastic out the front door. The latest update shows 3 possible interactions with waves/wind that my be the cause but they are not certain.

The monitor crew works in "Shifts" and Shift 2 was to deploy and initially monitor Wilson. Their allocated time is over so they left and Shift 3 looks like they will have to be the technical team and try to adjust Wilson to keep the plastics corralled.

They also said they are going to do a tow test, deploy their sub (has some kind of sonar to track currents), and do what all good plumbers do when something is wrong with water, do a dye test! (Those who have had leaky toilets have probably dumped in a cup of dye to see where the leak is at/going to, and how fast). Well, Shift 3 will also perform one.

Full details at - Testing Continues To Understand System Behavior.

Their tweet pretty much says that Shift 3 has arrived and they are going to try and increase Wilson's speed.

God speed, Wilson! God speed!

posted on Dec, 28 2018 @ 02:28 PM
This is not The Ocean Cleanup related but has impact on their efforts.

TOC has stated that their efforts will not solve the plastic waste problem. They said that reduction of plastic waste has to happen too. That is where this item of news fits in.

The Coca-Cola Company today announced a new agreement extending a loan to Ioniqa Technologies (The Netherlands) to facilitate the development of Ioniqa’s proprietary technology to produce high-grade, recycled PET content from hard-to-recycle PET waste. The agreement is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of high-grade recycled content PET for use in bottles used by The Coca-Cola Company.

This investment supports the company’s global vision to work toward a World Without Waste, which includes a goal to create packaging made of at least 50% recycled material by 2030. The new technology supports the circular economy for plastics by allowing packages such as colored PET bottles that may have been excluded from certain recycling streams to be recycled into food-grade quality packaging., news, Dec. 13, 2018 - The Coca-Cola Company Announces Loan Agreement with Ioniqa.

This made a couple different website's pages and I knew nothing about Ioniqa so went to their website.

It seems that they have developed a method of removing colorization and have a method to "sort" out plastics to get PET (polyethylene terephthalate) back to a "clean" state for reuse. Commonly referred to as "polyester" you will find PET in soda bottles, carpets, kick @$$ lounge lizard suits, and most underwear. It accounts for 30% of plastic demand worldwide (source: Wikipedia), so a method to get it back to clean and ready for reuse is a big deal. They refer it as a "circular recycling" at their website.

Now, with backing from Coca-Cola, they are scaling up from a demo plant to a full scale recycling plant.

Less waste plastic to clean up from the ocean!!

Consider the other recycling news was the headline grabbing, "95% of all plastics is not recycled", this is really good news!

YAY!! Some good news on the recycling front!

Update: TOC is looking into what is causing System-001 to lose plastic. B. Slat tweeted that they have 27 different areas to look into and hope to both narrow it down and test several of their solutions prior to Shift 4's arrival (Source: Boyan Slat, twitter).

posted on Jan, 2 2019 @ 12:00 PM

On Saturday, December 29th, during a regular inspection of the cleanup system, our offshore crew discovered that an 18-meter end-section had detached from the rest of the system. Although it is too early to confirm the cause of the malfunction, we hypothesize that material fatigue (caused by about 10^6 load cycles), combined with a local stress concentration, caused a fracture in the HDPE floater.

It’s important to note that both the 580-meter main section and the 18-meter end section are both completely stable; all bulkheads are intact, and the end section has two stabilizers affixed to it, so rollover is not possible Also, because no material was lost, there have been no safety risks for the crew, environment or passing marine traffic. However, as the redundancy in the cleanup system’s sensors and satellite communication (which are mounted on both end sections) has now been compromised, we concluded it is sensible to return to port. - Wilson to Return to Port for Repair and Upgrade.


They were having issues anyway. They had no way of knowing how the system would work without letting it lose in the GPGP, so add on a mechanical fracture, it is probably the right decision for this round of deployment.

Hope the next round goes better! No word on when that will be.

posted on Feb, 26 2019 @ 12:56 PM
While The Ocean Cleanup work on their RCA (root cause analysis), some great news on the plastics recycling front!

YouTube - Plastic Surgery: A radical new recycling process will breath new life into old plastics

IBM researchers have discovered a catalytic chemical process that digests plastics into a substance which can be fed directly back into plastic manufacturing machines in order to make new products. the process, called VolCat recycling, collects plastic bottles, containers, and PET-based fabrics, grinds them up, and combines them with a chemical catalyst in a pressure cooker set to above 200 degrees celsius.

VolCat begins by heating PET and ethylene glycol in a reactor with the catalyst. after depolymerization is complete, the catalyst is recovered by distillation from the reactor using the heat of reaction. the solution is filtered, purified, and then cooled, and the solid monomer product is recovered by filtration. the recovered liquid, along with the catalyst, is then reintroduced into the depolymerization reactor in an energy-efficient cycle., Feb. 20, 2019 - IBM researchers develop recycling tech that eats dirty bottles to make new plastic.

It is not without effort. The plastic has to be ground up which takes energy. Adding heat always seem to cost energy especially if the excess heat is just radiated out to the atmosphere. But the upside, long term is what is important: recycling more plastic than is currently done (I saw an article state 95% of plastics in *not* recycled but only read the headline).

The polymer plastic, PET, is reduced to a monomer plastic which ends up as a white powder ready to be added back into the plastic production cycle. The plastic does not have to be one type and can be different colors. The "solution" that is drained off contains the other materials added to plastics. That is cleansed, filtered, and creates the new plastic feedstock; the catalyst is recaptured during pressure cooking, and then sent back to be used again.

The video is just one of those "feel good" videos that does not even mention VolCat. No mention of what the catalyst is or if it is expensive. And they said, "Over the next five years..." which means, to me, that has been through the lab test but not pilot tested at scale.

I hope this works! I also hope that the plastic2hydrogen works and Wilson is able to clean up the GPGP, lol.

I am also hopeful that serious efforts are made to keep plastic from reaching the ocean in the first place.

A lot to be hopeful for... and it is not even Earth Day!!

posted on Feb, 27 2019 @ 07:08 AM
A wise old Mechanical Engineer once told me..."Water always wins in the end. You can direct it sometimes. You can temporarily contain it sometimes. But in the end, no matter what, water always wins!"

Whether it's the ocean, or a simple leak in a pipe...water always wins. Over the years since hearing this gem of wisdom I have been a keen observer of just how right he was. Water is the single most destructive natural force on this planet.

I guess it's just too bad it takes so long for the water to eventually prevail over the GPGP. It will eventually, but apparently not as quickly as it prevails over the devices attempting to clean up the GPGP.

ETA - Great thread BTW. I have been following your posts on this subject with interest since the beginning.
edit on 2/27/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 4 2019 @ 10:40 PM
Our new health thread...plastic everywhere.

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