Seatrec’s floats harness the ocean’s thermal energy to recharge. In 2011, a marine biologist told his audience at a TED conference that “ we know more about the surface of the moon and about Mars ” than we do of our own planet’s ocean floor. While much progress has been made since then to narrow the gap in our oceanographic knowledge, the gulf remains considerable. And the pressure to make sea exploration a much cleaner affair increases. Seatrec, a five-year-old ‘blue tech’ start-up based in Vista, California is one company rising to that challenge, with power generating technology that it hopes will bring a level of sustainability to oceanographic exploration not possible until recently. ‘Profiling floats’ – unmanned, robotic data gathering devices that monitor the sea’s physical, chemical and geological characteristics – is an established approach. The Argo international research project, for example, has more than 3,000 active floats dotted around the world. Laden with sensors, these battery-fuelled floats dive to predetermined depths to carry out their programmed tasks, re-emerge on completion and transmit their data harvest to the research stations via satellite. Well, that’s the theory anyway. Sometimes the floats never make it back from the deep and […]

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