In this blog I will write about my experiences in cleaning up our ocean. It is about jobs, plastics, the media and how to persevere with new inventions.

How do you recruit new colleagues efficiently and creatively?

Recently I attended a course given by FME; How to recruit new colleagues efficiently and creatively? I presented my case to the ladies in charge and they immediately drew a line between our company and the Ocean Cleanup of Boyan Slat.

It seems that technical students are hard to find in Delft, for the Ocean clean-up there is no problem. Everybody wants to work for them.

Inspiration

I follow the Ocean Cleanup from a distance of course. We are also working on the development of equipment to keep the world clean for future generations. We all know about the floating plastic islands and the micro plastics that enter our food chain. Boyan Slat stood up and wanted to do something about it. He gathered people around him and inspired people to help him solve the problem of the plastic soup.

Public opinion

The public is aware of the disaster; Mankind invented a non-degradable material that looked like a solution at that moment but turned out to be a big problem for the world in the long run. For Boyan it looks relatively easy to find funding; he has public opinion on his side, companies have to work on their green page, he founded a non-profit business (which is appealing to the public) and people see plastic floating pretty much everywhere.

Exxon Valdez

In 1989 it was the same with the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. 45.000 Tons of crude oil was spilled near Price William Sound Alaska, an ecological disaster that America has never seen before. Public opinion demanded that the oil companies should do something about those kinds of transportations. The result was a series of measures to prevent oil spills from happening.

Floating oil recovery unit

We are working on a solution to keep the seas clean, we invented a robust, highly efficient and easy to use piece of equipment. We started with a drawing and a video, “this is what it looks like and this is how it should work”, the spiritual father, Wim Schuur told us. First, we tested in Ohmsett in the USA, the result was very bad. After years of testing in Norway and modifications we finally had a working product. And now very slowly we are catching the eye of big oil companies.

Perseverance

The media supports Ocean Clean up and sometimes they criticize it. In February Boyan Slat tested his first prototype in real life at the coast of California. After a couple of weeks, he had to withdraw the prototype because it broke down. “How does a young guy like Boyan Slat even thinks he can solve this huge problem”, the media said.

In an enterprise like this, you get one setback after the other. “This will end up on the scrapyard”, Dutch Coastguard people said behind my back when we first tested in real life.

Entrepreneurs like Boyan Slat need perseverance I know this from experience. If it was easy, everyone would have done it, my daughters keep telling me.

Soccer game

The world is like a soccer game, 20.000 people are watching while 22 people are playing. Boyan Slat with his team are playing, they stood up and act. They are going to solve at least a part of the problem of the plastic soup. We are ready for the market, Dutch Coast Guard, Norwegian Coastal administration and now Saudi Aramco agree, they purchased the first FORU’s. Now we are playing too, let’s play ball!

 

Questions?

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