22 years old Boyan Slat is a Dutch entrepreneur and inventor who creates technologies to tackle global issues of sustainability. He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, where he is responsible for overall strategy and cleanup technology development. Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan Slat devised a system though which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years.
In June 2014, having lead an international team of 100 scientists and engineers for a year, the concept turned out to be ‘likely a technically feasible and financially viable’ method to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years’ time. A subsequent crowd funding campaign then raised close to $2.2m, enabling the organization to start the pilot phase. The first system is projected to be deployed in Japanese waters in 2016.
The Ocean Cleanup has been recognized as one of the Designs of the Year by the London Design Museum, is recipient of the 2015 INDEX Design Award, won Fast Company’s 2015 Innovation by Design award, and has been chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 25 best inventions of 2015.