"Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar.
Play for free, I play for me and play a whole lot more, more!
Singing about the good things and the sun that lights the day.
I used to sing on the mountains, 'Has the ocean lost its way?'"
— Led Zeppelin
The Ocean Cleanup was founded in 2013 by Dutch inventor, Boyan Slat. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization, developing advanced technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic. Today, the team includes about 70 engineers, researchers, scientists, and computational modelers. Their headquarters is located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, but their assembly yard for the first cleanup system is located in my own backyard of Alameda, California. [theoceancleanup.com]
Ocean Cleanup is launching their first system tomorrow, so I rode my bicycle over to the launch site this morning to see how the preparations were shaping up.
The Ocean Cleanup launch location is on the site that is the former Alameda Naval Air Station.
The system consists of a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below. The floater provides buoyancy to the system and prevents plastic from flowing over it, while the skirt stops debris from escaping underneath. Both the plastic and system are being carried by the current; however, wind and waves propel only the system, as the floater sits just above the water surface, while the plastic is primarily just beneath it. The system thus moves faster than the plastic, allowing the plastic to be captured. [theoceancleanup.com]
It's great to see that The Ocean Cleanup is "all in" when it comes to sustainability — caring about the earth's air as well as its water.
The system is sitting in the middle of Seaplane Lagoon, awaiting its launch.
There's a section of huge plastic tubing used for the system on display for tomorrow's festivities.
Saildrone, a provider of high-resolution ocean data collected by a fleet of unmanned autonomous surface vessels, also has its headquarters on the former Alameda Naval Air Station.
Saildrone was mentioned in our discussion of technology trends at #AU2016.
By utilizing the ocean currents to everyone's advantage, Ocean Cleanup's passive drifting systems are estimated to be able to clean up half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world and is located between Hawaii and California that is 3 times the size of France. Not only does plastic pollution in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch pose risks for the safety and health of marine animals, but there are health and economic implications for humans as well. Once plastic enters the marine food web, there is a possibility that it will contaminate the human food chain as well. [theoceancleanup.com]
The Autodesk Foundation believes that design can change the world and supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges, so it's no surprise that I am personally proud that my hometown is part of the cleanup efforts. If you are so inclined, you can support The Ocean Cleanup with a financial donation. Donations to The Ocean Cleanup made through the Netherland America Foundation are tax-deductible for US citizens.
Cleanup is alive in the lab.