Boyan Slat (1994) 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 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 February 2013 he dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering study to start The Ocean Cleanup.
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 2000 m system is projected to be deployed in Japanese waters in 2016.
Boyan Slat has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and was crowned 2014 Champion of the Earth, the United Nations' highest environmental accolade. In 2015, HM King Harald of Norway awarded Boyan the maritime industry's Young Entrepreneur Award, and Foreign Policy magazine included Boyan in their 2015 list of Global Thinkers.
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.