With the 1st deployment mission of a system to capture and collect plastic debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch officially over, The Ocean Cleanup is now working to develop System 002.
System 002 is planned to be a full-scale cleanup system that is able to both endure and retain the collected plastic for long periods of time.
Currently, The Ocean Cleanup team is working on solutions to tweak the previous version of the system, focusing on its retention abilities so it can stay longer at sea in order to optimize costs.
To remind, the System 001, dubbed Wilson, comprised a 600-meter-long U-shaped floating barrier with a three-meter skirt attached below. It was designed to be propelled by wind and waves, allowing it to passively catch and concentrate plastic debris in front of it.
Despite some setbacks in the initial stages of deployment, a redesigned System 001/B confirmed the concept’s ability to collect plastic debris from giant fishing nets to microplastics of one millimeter in size.
The Dutch environmental organization believes that System 002 will be a key stepping stone to the full-scale cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The Ocean Cleanup aims to scale up to a fleet of approximately 60 systems focused on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch over the next two years. It estimates that the full fleet can remove half of the plastic in the area within five years’ time.
This is in line with The Ocean Cleanup’s ultimate goal: reducing the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans by at least 90% by 2040.