Boyan Slat of The Ocean Cleanup talks up his latest invention, The Interceptor
Hey, Mr. Slat.
So, I won't take too much your time.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Athena and I just want to ask can you just tell us about the interceptor and just tell us a little bit about the background and how it works please.
Yeah, it's a big ocean cleanup.
Our mission is to rid the world's oceans of plastic and for that we need to do 2 things.
On one hand we need to.
King of the legacy pollution that the plastic that's already in the ocean and doesn't go away by itself but we also need to prevent more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place what we found is that river are the main source of plastic to the ocean.
And that 1000 rivers are responsible for roughly 80% of the pollution.
So 1% of rivers does 80% of the pollution.
So fortunately though, there isn't one solution that you can just bring anywhere in the world.
It's still within days and That just works.
So that's why we developed the interceptor, which is the world's first scalable solution to intercept pacific and rivers.
So by scalable You mean you can you can adjust the size of it to fit in different size rivers is that is that what you mean by scalable So it's kind of a what I mean is that it can be applied to virtually anywhere in the world so already some things exist that are really made for very specific locations but the things of course this is a global problem so so what we have developed a something that can really work in all of these are almost all of these 1000 rivers that that need to be solved.
So how does it actually catch the plastic?
There's an arm that is going across the river, how does that work?
Yeah, so when the plastic flows through the river, the first thing it will encounter is the barrier that guides the plastic to the mouth of the interceptor.
Where then you have a conveyer belt that scoops it out of the water Then distributes the plastic across six giant dumpsters that act like a buffer for the plastic.
So that's following that periodically you can, you can empty it, bring it to the side of the river and take the plastic to a recycling center and it can do can do this fully autonomous Lee While being powered day and night by pure sunlight thanks to the solar panels and batteries.
So, at the end of the day, will someone, like a person, have to come and empty the bin every day?
So, the intercepter collects plastic fully autonomously.
The only thing you have to do is empty it every once in a while.
So, of course, depends on your location, how often that is, but generally it would be once every few days.
And then you indeed to take the barge out like a cartridge, bring it to the side of the river and empty them out and bring it to recycling.
So it's really The goal was to make it as easy as emptying a vacuum cleaner, it is just a little bigger.
So you guys already have two installed around the world have you seen any success from the two that have been installed, I believe in Jakarta and Malaysia.
Correct, they perform really, really well And Yeah, so in the Malaysia that used to be one of the heaviest polluting rivers in the world.
And the interceptor is, yeah, it's really performing very well taking tons of garbage out on a daily basis, of course Yeah the next step is to deploy the other 2 that we already built so those ones are going to Vietnam and the Dominican Republic and then the next year will be starting with the scale up because the the goal is to to solve those 1000 reversed and in five years time.
So I was there I saw the system WO1 Wilson, I saw it in person in Alameda, I actually live in Alameda.
I covered you guys for CNET last year when you read before you deployed it.
So it went out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and you ran into some issues with the design and So can you tell us about the upgrades in the design for system 001/B and how it's working now?
And now, it's catching plastic, right?
So there is really two main issues that we had with the first situation of our ocean cleanup system.
Where, first of all it is where the structural failure and secondly, there wasn't any consistent speed difference between the plastic and the system, which meant that the system wasn't catching any plastic.
So, what we did was we we took the system back to land, back to the drawing board made adjustments to the to the design and.
And we're able to resolve the root cause of the structure thinner as well as we were able to find ways to actually get the consistent speed difference between the system and the plastic.
Again, the way we achieve that is by turning the system around and attaching kind of this giant parachutes on the water parachute to it Which acts like an anchor to slow down the system.
And what we now see is that the system continuously moves through the water slower than the plastic and is now actually as we speak catching plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
I am very happy to share with you That we are now catching plastic.
That's fantastic news man.
I was really rooting for you guys and I'm really happy that it's working finally.
So I'm sure you're still like, perfecting it.
Are there any plans for system WO2 in the future or what do you guys?
What are you guys working on now with that.
Yeah, so right now we're rounding off the system one campaign and sort of thing next month was really start up the system number two campaign, where the goal is to develop a bigger version of this machine.
That is really optimized for scale.
And in preparation for launching a full fleet of cleanup systems in the years to come.
So, say so now starting up system to development.
And yeah, we hope to launch that as soon as possible as well.
That's fantastic man, well I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and thank you for all the work you're doing to rid the world of plastic in the ocean and in the rivers now which is really cool.
It is important to stress that the rivers of course the fact that the rivers become a bit cleaner is a nice side effect.
But of course the goal is, or the ocean clean up the goal is really to prevent it from entering the oceans, so.
Anything else you want to say before you go?
No I think, we covered it all.
I mean, maybe you want to.
One thing that that could be relevant is to say that, you know, looking at the scale up for the reverse, we already have signed contracts with several governments right now.
Which includes Thailand, Honduras, as well as LA County.
So, for the first systems that are going to be deployed next year, so that should also be one on US soil somewhere next year.
Awesome and your goal is 1000 Rivers by 2025.
Is that correct?
Yes, in the 1,000th heaviest polluting rivers around the world.
All right, well thank you very much Boyen, I really appreciate your time.
All right, pleasure, cheers.
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