Less than six months ago, the Ocean Cleanup’s System 001 was being towed back to port after the crew discovered it wasn’t holding the trash it was designed to collect. This week, after just four months of designing, building, and testing improvements, Boyan Slat’s 2,000-foot-long floating array has been sent back out to sea. “Time to put it to the test,” the Cleanup announced on Twitter.
The new system, named System 001B, has a parachute-like sea anchor designed to slow the system down. Whereas System001 was overflowing with trash it collected — eventually leading to a break at the end of the floating boom — “at low speed, [the parachute sea anchor] performed as planned with satisfactory results.”
Before launching System 001/B this week, we tested the parachute sea anchor that will be used for slowing down the system. At low speed, it performed as planned with satisfactory results. We are now green-lighted to test with the system in the patch. More details in coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/LTmSfVtlIA
— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) June 18, 2019
In the months since System 001’s repairs began, Slat has been pretty specific with followers about the Cleanup’s progress via an ongoing and regularly-updated blog. Last month he detailed the intended upgrades and improvements along with what System 001’s failures had taught them, pointing out that a June relaunch was in the works. That relaunch was only announced with a tweet, but judging by the Ocean Cleanup’s maintenance of the blog in the past, a detailed update is probably on the way.
“Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,” Slat said. “Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.”
Once the Ocean Cleanup perfects a reliable system, the plan is to launch as many as 60 others to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.