The Ocean Cleanup Foundation is developing floating barrier systems to concentrate and extract buoyant plastic from the global accumulation zones located in the subtropical convergence zones in the world’s oceans. In that context, two cleanup systems have been designed, built and deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch since 2018 to evaluate their performance in the field. During those campaigns, a large amount of data in terms of system displacement and environmental conditions has been collected. This data serves to further validate and calibrate numerical models that will be used to develop future generations of cleanup systems.

The main performance indicator in scrutiny is the field efficiency which can be derived from on the one hand the barrier horizontal motion in terms of displacement and span heading and on the other hand the plastic transport around and inside the barrier. This information then needs to be correlated to the background environmental conditions to evaluate the barrier’s efficiency over a longer deployment period and allow multi-decadal hindcast analysis. describe both the experimental and numerical work, this paper is split in two parts. This first part is dedicated to the presentation of the experimental setup in terms of barrier displacement, environmental conditions and surface transport measurements.

This paper details the techniques employed to carry out those measurements, how they are processed but also the short comings of some measurement methods.

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