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Plastic waste-catching dam to be tested in North Sea

"The main objective of the North Sea test is to monitor the effects of real-life sea conditions," the conservation group said.
By Brooks Hays   |   Dec. 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

DELFT, Netherlands, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A conservation group called Ocean Cleanup is preparing to test its trash-catching dam technology in the North Sea.

The barrier will be installed in the second quarter of 2016. It will be placed a few miles off the coast of the Netherlands, not far from the foundation's headquarters in Delft. The floating dam is designed to funnel and trap plastic bags, bottles and other pieces of garbage.

"The scalable array of floating barriers will funnel plastics towards the center of the structure, enabling a central platform to efficiently extract and store the concentrated plastic until it is transported to land for recycling," the foundation says on its website.

Ocean Cleanup's technology is still in its infancy. The forthcoming deployment will be as much about testing structural integrity and functionality as it will be about collecting garbage.

"The main objective of the North Sea test is to monitor the effects of real-life sea conditions, with a focus on waves and currents," Ocean Cleanup wrote in a recent press release. "The motions of the barrier and the loads on the system will be monitored by cameras and sensors."

Engineers with Ocean Cleanup hope the results from the North Sea test will help them improve the technology for future large-scale deployments -- first off the coast of Tsushima Island, Japan, and then in Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020.

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