Back in 2013, a young Dutchman had become so concerned with the state of the world’s oceans that he decided to set up The Ocean Cleanup with the express aim of ridding the seas of plastic
Fast forward to today and Boyan Slat’s vision is becoming a reality, with the first floating system in a fleet of 60 (System 001) having just been launched. Once all the systems have been fully deployed, it’s estimated that it will take five years to help clean 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is located halfway between Hawaii and California.
All eyes will be on System 001 in the hope that it’s a big success. Meanwhile, work is continuing at a feverish pace behind the scenes. As the official coatings partner of The Ocean Cleanup, AkzoNobel will provide biocide-free Intersleek coatings technology for all its devices for the next five years.
But it’s a complex process. Improvements and changes are constantly being made to both the technology and the cleaning system itself. Which means the requirements of the coatings keep changing as well. So our technical experts are working closely with The Ocean Cleanup to come up with the most innovative and effective solution.
“The Ocean Cleanup system is the first of its kind and we’re working with some very unusual materials, which we don’t often come across,” explains Joanne Grant, a Fouling Release Technologist based at our Felling site in the UK. “For example, the material being used is flexible, which is challenging, because most of our coatings are not formulated to withstand the stress imparted by a ‘moving’ substrate.
“But a huge amount of effort is going into this from both sides. We are always open to modifying our coatings if it will help to provide a solution and it’s exciting to be exploring completely new territory together.”
The Ocean Cleanup’s technology employs U-shaped screens to channel floating plastic to a central point. The concentrated plastic can then be extracted and shipped to shore for recycling into durable products. The system is designed to capture plastic pieces of all sizes, from one centimeter right up to massive discarded fishing nets.
As the front-runner in developing biocide free anti-fouling coatings and a world leader in
the marine coatings industry, it was a natural campaign for the company to support. It also has a strong link to our focus on sustainable shipping.
Adds Oscar Wezenbeek, AkzoNobel’s Director of Marine, Protective and Yacht Coatings: “Ocean pollution is a serious global issue impacting our society and our planet’s future. We believe we can make a meaningful contribution to overcoming the problem by taking action and supporting the fantastic work being done by The Ocean Cleanup.
“We were excited to see the launch of System 001 and look forward to continuing to support the valuable work that’s being done to rid our oceans of marine pollution.”