Plastic Pollution Cleanup in the Ocean

Case ID:

This invention is a specially designed hydrocyclone, a type of cyclonic separator, that is meant to separate plastics from water. It is designed in such a way that it can filter plastics smaller than 5mm in size while returning nutrients, like plankton, back to the ocean.


Every year up to 8,00,000 metric tons of plastic enters our planet's oceans where it collects in circulating currents, known as gyres, or is carried to beaches. While floating, the plastic pieces break down from environmental factors like the sun and animals into smaller and smaller pieces, some of which measure a fraction of a millimeter. These pieces are then small enough to enter the food chain where they can eventually be found in the seafood we consume. When consumed, the plastic can cause deformities in DNA and can lead to illnesses like cancer. Floating plastic also contributes to oceanic dead zones, areas that lack life because oxygen or food is being affected by something in the system. Removing plastic from the ocean has become critical to its health and the survival of the animals that live in and around it.



  • Removal of plastic from water systems
  • Oceanic and environmental studies


  • Allows microscopic organisms to return to the water
  • Capable of removing plastic particles smaller than 5mm in size
  • Low cost
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tariq Ahmed
Sr Licensing Manager, College of Engineering
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Moe Momayez