The massive plastic-cleaning device invented by a 25-year-old is finally catching some trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Take a look at its journey.

The road to success hasn't been smooth for 25-year-old Boyan Slat, the founder of The Ocean Cleanup, which aims to rid the oceans of harmful plastic.

Slat, a Dutch entrepreneur, came up with a concept for removing garbage from the ocean at age 16, and he's been refining the idea ever since.

The system he eventually created is designed to collect plastic debris using the ocean's currents. The technology remains largely unproven and has hit several snags, but in June, the organization deployed an improved cleanup device that appears to be successfully catching (and holding onto) some trash. The group also recently published a study that sheds new light on how plastic journeys through the ocean.

Read more: A massive plastic-cleanup device invented by a 25-year-old may finally be catching trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

If all goes according to plan, The Ocean Cleanup's device could eventually remove half the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a trash-filled vortex in the Pacific Ocean that is more than twice as large as Texas — within five years.

Take a look at a timeline of Slat's journey.

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