Boyan Slat is orchestrating the largest cleanup in history.
The Ocean Cleanup, which he founded at age 18, aims to clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a mass of 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and 80,000 tons, within 5 years.
Boyan Slat (27 July 1994) is a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur who creates technologies to solve societal problems. He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, a group that develops advanced systems to rid world’s oceans of plastic.
Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan devised a system through which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennial to mere years. In February 2013 he dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering study at TU Delft to start The Ocean Cleanup. The first cleanup prototype was deployed in June 2016, and The Ocean Cleanup now prepares to launch the first full-scale operational system into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by mid-2018.
Boyan Slat is the youngest-ever recipient of the UN’s highest environmental accolade; Champion of the Earth. In 2015, HM King Harald of Norway awarded Boyan the maritime industry’s Young Entrepreneur Award. Foreign Policy included Boyan in their 2015 list of preeminent thought leaders, Forbes included him in their 30 under 30 edition in 2016. In 2017, Elsevier named him Dutchman of the Year, Reader’s Digest chose him as the European of the Year and he was given the Thor Heyerdahl Award for maritime innovation. Boyan is a member of the Thiel Fellowship.
The Ocean Cleanup has been chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of 2015.