The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, announces that it has successfully secured the funding required for its North Sea prototype test, which will start early summer 2016. Manufacturing, deployment and testing of the North Sea prototype is budgeted at EUR 1.5 million, a third of which is contributed by world-renowned dredging and marine contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis).

The Government of The Netherlands, through the ministries of Infrastructure & the Environment and Economic Affairs, has committed to contributing another EUR 0.5 million. The remainder of the funding has been pledged by an anonymous philanthropist.

The North Sea prototype is an important step towards the world’s first deployment of an ocean cleanup system, and will be the first test of the design at sea. The prototype spans 100 m and will be deployed in the Dutch North Sea, 23 km / 12 NM off the coast of Scheveningen harbor – The Hague for one year. The objective of the test is to monitor and analyze behavior of a floating barrier segment in all weather conditions, including gale force winds and waves.

By 2020, The Ocean Cleanup aims to deploy a 100 km-long structure between Hawaii and California. Analysis suggests this array will be able to clean up about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in ten years’ time. The system makes use of very long floating barriers, which act as an artificial coastline, passively collecting and concentrating the ocean trash, powered by the natural ocean currents.

Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup, said: “Making sure the floating barriers are able to withstand the harshest of conditions is fundamental to the success of our mission. I am grateful to our supporters for enabling us to perform these critical sea trials. It is this kind of support which is crucial in our preparation for the largest cleanup in history.”

Sharon Dijksma, Minister for the Environment, said: “Boyan proves that innovations for tackling environmental problems and entrepreneurship go well together. The Dutch government therefore shows its full commitment by giving this financial contribution to the Ocean Cleanup’s prototype.”

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, said: “I am very pleased to see that, with our support through the transportation and installation of the North Sea prototype test, Boskalis can contribute to the success of The Ocean Cleanup. As Boskalis, we aim to create new horizons for stakeholders around the world. Our support of this prototype test will help The Ocean Cleanup to bring the perspective of a plastics-free ocean one step closer.”

The North Sea prototype, along with the details of the test, will be unveiled at a press conference in Scheveningen harbor – The Hague on June 22, 2016.