Boyan Slat (1994) combines technology and entrepreneurism to tackle global issues of sustainability. He currently serves as the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.
After diving in Greece aged 16, frustrated by coming across more plastic bags than fish, he wondered; why can't we clean this up? While still being on secondary school, he then decided to dedicate half a year of research to understand the plastic pollution and the challenges associated with cleaning it up. This ultimately led to the passive cleanup concept, which he presented in 2012.
Working to prove the feasibility of his concept, Boyan Slat has given lead to a team of over 100 people, and Boyan Slat then quit his Aerospace Engineering study to completely focus his efforts on proving the feasibility of The Ocean Cleanup. In June 2014, having worked with an international team of 100 scientists and engineers for a year, the concept turned out to be 'likely technically feasible and financially viable'. A subsequent crowd funding campaign then raised close to $2.2m, now enabling the organization to start the pilot phase.
In 2012, The Ocean Cleanup has been awarded Best Technical Design at the Delft University of Technology. Boyan Slat has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and is a laureate of the 2014 United Nations Champions for the Earth award.