MEMS and Sensors

Using sensors to discover cleantech resources on the seafloor

03 December 2021
The Viper technology will be placed at the bottom of the ocean to survey minerals and marine life faster than conventional methods. Source: Impossible Sensing

A new project through the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will explore the potential of finding cleantech resources on the seafloor using sensors and robots.

Partnering with Impossible Sensing, a sensor startup, the project will, for the first time, send robotic laboratories to the bottom of the ocean to identify and quantify the location, size and nature of mineral deposits and biological communities.

Called Viper, the robotic laboratories use Impossible Sensing’s space exploration technologies to map and discover marine mineral in the U.S. exclusive economic zone while providing information about habitats and species. This technology was originally developed by NASA.

The goal will be to support the global shift to clean energy but also document deep-sea biodiversity.

“To fulfill its mission, BOEM needs to gather further information on the location and extent of critical minerals on the outer continental shelf,” said Mark Leung, geologist in BOEM’s Office of Strategic Resources.

The company said about 100 square kilometers of mineral and environmental surveys can be completed in days, rather than months, without having to take samples. Additionally, Viper will help reduce carbon emissions.

“With Viper, we are turning our space exploration innovations into game-changing cleantech solutions that will bring seafloor mineral resources to market sustainably and at the speed that rapid decarbonization requires,” said Pablo Sobron, founder and CEO of Impossible Sensing. “Because Viper is so scalable and transformative, it will contribute to a green recovery by aiding in the acceleration of the electrification of transportation and other industries.”

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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