Boyan Slat

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Boyan Slat
Boyan Slat, February 23, 2015.jpg
Boyan Slat, 23 February 2015
Born (1994-07-27) 27 July 1994 (age 24)
Delft, Netherlands
OccupationInventor and entrepreneur

Boyan Slat (born 27 July 1994)[1][2] is a Dutch inventor, entrepreneur and aerospace engineering student drop-out.[3][4] He is now the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.[5]

Early life[edit]

Boyan Slat was born on 27 July 1994 in Delft, the Netherlands.[6] Slat has been doing engineering projects and building things since he was two years old. He set a Guinness World Record by launching 213 water rockets simultaneously when he was 14.[7][8]

Initial interest in plastic pollution[edit]

At age 16 (2011), Slat came across more plastic than fish while diving in Greece. He decided to devote a high school project for deeper investigation into ocean plastic pollution and why it was considered impossible to clean up. He later came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage, which he presented at a TEDx talk in Delft in 2012.[9][10]

Slat discontinued his aerospace engineering studies at TU Delft, to devote all his time to developing his idea. He founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, and shortly after, his TEDx talk went viral after being shared on several news sites.[9]

"Technology is the most potent agent of change. It is an amplifier of our human capabilities", Slat wrote in The Economist. "Whereas other change-agents rely on reshuffling the existing building blocks of society, technological innovation creates entirely new ones, expanding our problem-solving toolbox."[11]

The Ocean Cleanup[edit]

In 2013, Slat founded the non-profit entity The Ocean Cleanup, of which he is now the CEO.[12] The Ocean Cleanup's mission is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic.[13] After foundation, The Ocean Cleanup managed to raise $2.2 million through a crowdfunding campaign with the help of 38,000 donors from 160 countries.[14] In June 2014, the Ocean Cleanup published a 528-page feasibility study[15] about the project's potential. Oceanographers Kim Martini and Miriam Goldstein published a technical critique[16] of the feasiblity study on the Deep Sea News website, that was cited by other publications including Popular Science[17] and The Guardian[18] The Guardian article reported that as of March 2016, the Ocean Cleanup was continuing to test and refine the concept.

Since The Ocean Cleanup started, the organization has raised $31.5 million USD in donations from entrepreneurs in Europe and in Silicon Valley, including Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.[19][20] By developing new designs, Boyan Slat estimates that half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will be gone within 5 years, at minimal costs.[21] The project will start with one system in mid-2018 and progressively make use of additional systems until it achieves full-scale deployment by 2020.[22]

Sailors clean a beach in Garcia

Awards and recognition[edit]

In November 2014, Slat was awarded the Champions of the Earth award of the United Nations Environment Programme.[23] HM King Harald of Norway awarded Boyan Slat the Young Entrepreneur Award in 2015.[24] Forbes included Slat in their 2016 "30 under 30" list In 2016.[25] Slat was selected as a Thiel Fellow, the program started in 2011 by venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. It gives $100,000 to entrepreneurs 22 years old and younger who have left or postponed college to work on their start-up.[19] In February 2017, Reader's Digest appointed Boyan Slat European of the Year (Reader's Digest award)[26] and the Dutch Elsevier awarded him Nederlander van het Jaar 2017 (eng. Dutchman of the Year 2017).[27] In May 2018, Boyan was awarded the Euronews award "European Entrepreneur of the Year".[28]


  1. ^ Finger, Tobias (24 June 2014). "The Ocean Cleanup – Dieser Student will die Weltmeere vom Plastikmüll befreien" [The Ocean Cleanup: This student wants to rid the seas of plastic waste]. Umwelt [environment] (in German). WiWo Green.
  2. ^ Winter, Caroline (16 September 2014). "This Dutch Wunderkind Now Has the Funds to Build His Ocean Cleanup Machine". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  3. ^ Pabst, Josephine (24 October 2014). "Idee eines 20-Jährigen könnte die Ozeane entmüllen". Die Welt (in German).
  4. ^ "Boyan Slat". Boyan Slat combines environmentalism, creativity and technology to tackle global issues of sustainability. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  5. ^, The Ocean Cleanup,. "About". The Ocean Cleanup. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  6. ^ "Nizozemac hrvatskog podrijetla izumio sustav koji elimira plastični otpad iz mora". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  7. ^, Susan Caminiti, special to (2017-04-22). "Thiel, Benioff backing 22-year-old's dream to clean up world's oceans". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  8. ^ Venema, Vibeke (2014-10-17). "The Dutch boy mopping up a sea of plastic". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  9. ^ a b, The Ocean Cleanup,. "How it all began". The Ocean Cleanup. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  10. ^ TEDx Talks (2012-10-24), How the oceans can clean themselves: Boyan Slat at TEDxDelft, retrieved 2017-06-06
  11. ^ Slat, Boyan. "The Economist". The Economist.
  12. ^, The Ocean Cleanup,. "About". The Ocean Cleanup. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  13. ^, The Ocean Cleanup,. "About". The Ocean Cleanup. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  14. ^, The Ocean Cleanup,. "Crowd Funding Campaign". The Ocean Cleanup. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  15. ^ Boyan Slat (June 2014), How the oceans can clean themselves: a feasibility study (PDF) This is version 2.0 of the study. It states (p. 9) that version 1.0 is available on request.
  16. ^ Drs. Kim Martini and Miriam Goldstein (14 July 2014), The Ocean Cleanup, Part 2: Technical review of the feasibility study
  17. ^ Emily Gertz (16 July 2014), Does 'The Ocean Cleanup' Stand Up To Peer Review?, Popular Science
  18. ^ Lindsey Kratochwill (26 Mar 2016), Too good to be true? The Ocean Cleanup Project faces feasibility questions, The Guardian
  19. ^ a b, Susan Caminiti, special to (2017-04-22). "Why Peter Thiel believes in this 22-year-old's dream to clean up the oceans". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  20. ^, The Ocean Cleanup,. "The Ocean Cleanup Raises 21.7 Million USD in Donations to Start Pacific Cleanup Trials". The Ocean Cleanup. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  21. ^, Creativinn,. "Making the Planet Blue again: Boyan Slat's creative solution to clean up our oceans". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  22. ^, Creativinn. "Making the Planet Blue again: Boyan Slat's creative solution to clean up our oceans". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  23. ^ "2014 Laureate". United Nations Environment Programme. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-11-17. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Young Entrepreneur Award 2017". Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  25. ^ "30 Under 30 2016 Europe: Science and Healthcare". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  26. ^ "European of the Year: Boyan Slat Wants to Clean Up the Oceans | Reader's Digest". Reader's Digest. 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  27. ^ "Dit is de Nederlander van het Jaar 2017 -". (in Dutch). 2017-12-06. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  28. ^ "European Leadership Awards: meet the winners". euronews. 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2018-05-25.

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