The Ocean Cleanup raises USD 21.7 million to start Pacific cleanup trials


The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, has announced that it has successfully raised USD 21.7 million in donations since last November. This latest funding round brings The Ocean Cleanup’s total funding since 2013 to USD 31.5 million.

The Ocean Cleanup was founded in 2013 by then 18-year-old Boyan Slat and now employs approximately 65 engineers and researchers. Over the past four years, the foundation has been developing a passive plastic capturing technology, which uses the ocean currents to catch and concentrate the plastic using a network of long floating barriers that act like an artificial coastline. This will reduce the theoretical cleanup time of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from millennia to years.

The Ocean Cleanup aims to launch its first experimental cleanup system in Pacific waters by late 2017. It will represent an important milestone on the road to the full-scale cleanup of the world’s oceans.

This latest significant funding round is led by San Francisco-based philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff and an anonymous donor. Other supporters include the Julius Baer Foundation, Royal DSM, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur/investor Peter Thiel.

“Lynne and I are thrilled to support The Ocean Cleanup’s important goal of eliminating plastic in our oceans,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “With Boyan’s innovative leadership, I believe The Ocean Cleanup will have an incredibly positive impact on the future of our oceans. I hope other leaders will join us in supporting these efforts.”

Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, stated: “Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight.”

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Photo Credit: Erwin Zwart / The Ocean Cleanup

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