#06 2021

Project FIND to strengthen research on the Mozambique Channel and the Agulhas Current

This article is based on a news release issued by Seatrec

Seatrec, a renewable energy company that harvests energy from temperature differences in the environment, has launched Project FIND – Float Innovation and New Discovery – to promote equity in ocean research by providing underrepresented oceanographers with world-class, sustainable technology.

“The ocean is in crisis, and we cannot afford to have the world’s best and brightest on the sidelines because they lack access to data and technology,” insists Yi Chao, Seatrec’s Founder and CEO. “We must commit to building scientific capacity and infrastructure in every continent because every coastline has a stake in the ocean’s future.”

The programme is co-sponsored by data science and AI cloud platform provider, H2O.ai, providing five teams of oceanographers from underrepresented communities each with free access to machine-learning tools to process data from a Navis-SL1 scientific float powered by SL1 energy harvesting modules (at a value of $75 000).

The oceanographers were selected based on their contributions to the global understanding and preservation of the ocean.

“Ocean science is data science,” said Sri Ambati, CEO and founder of H2O.ai. “Democratising ocean science by providing underrepresented communities with access to world-class research tools is a critical step to preserving our oceans, and ultimately unlocking the mysteries of all life. We are honoured to support this important work and provide H2O.ai’s AI cloud platform for its prime purpose – AI for good.”

Seven oceanographers were selected for Project FIND. These include Tamaryn Morris (left) and Juliet Hermes (centre), who lead a South African team focused on the Mozambique Channel and the Agulhas Current.

The oceanographers selected for Project FIND are:

Asha De Vos, a Sri Lankan scientist and National Geographic explorer best known for her studies of blue whales.

Joseph K. Ansong, a senior mathematics lecturer at the University of Ghana who specialises in understanding the energetics of regional/global oceanic processes.

Miguel Tenreiro, a researcher based in Mexico studying the Gulf of Mexico circulation and its impact on weather and hurricanes.

Olga Sato and Paulo Polito, who lead a team from Brazil studying the South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation as an indicator for changes in climate.

Tamaryn Morris and Juliet Hermes, who lead a South African team focused on the Mozambique Channel and the Agulhas Current.

Seatrec’s energy harvesting system uses solid-to-liquid (SL) phase change materials to convert temperature differences into electricity to power profiling floats.

The Navis Autonomous Profiling Float, built by Sea-Bird Scientific, is widely used – including by Argo, the international ocean-monitoring network – for taking scientific measurements such as temperature and salinity down to 1 000 metres. The selected FIND investigators will receive a Navis float integrated with two of Seatrec’s SL1 modules that power the float using clean, renewable energy harvested from the ocean’s temperature differences.

Investigators will also have free support and access to H2O.ai’s award-winning Driverless AI platform that uses AI to deliver expert data science easier, faster and cheaper than traditional applications.

Project FIND seeks to demonstrate the potential of SL energy harvesting to enable discovery, introduce a renewable paradigm for float operations and provide state-of-the-art oceanographic instruments to underrepresented oceanographers.

About Seatrec

Seatrec designs and manufactures energy harvesting systems that generate electricity from naturally occurring temperature differences in ocean waters. This renewable energy can be used to power deep-water oceanographic research equipment such as floats, gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), resulting in the most scalable, cost-effective deep ocean data collection possible.

Incorporated in 2016 by CEO, Dr Yi Chao, Seatrec’s technology originated at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, to provide clean power for remote off-grid locations. The company is headquartered in Vista, CA. Visit Seatrec at www.seatrec.com and @seatrecinc.