These electric submarines map the ocean floor to give way to wind power – Texas News


Bedrock Co-Founder (LR) CTO Charlie Chiau and CEO Anthony Di Mare

Courtesy: Bedrock

In March, the Department of Energy, the Department of Interior, and the Department of Commerce said they were aiming for US offshore wind capacity to reach 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. This is a very optimistic goal of having to install thousands of new wind turbines off the Pacific Ocean off the Atlantic Ocean. And the Gulf.

Now that federal support is fixed, it is the responsibility of developers and operators to find a safe place to install offshore wind farms and seek permits.

Bedrock, a startup in Richmond, California, wants to help map the ocean floor with an autonomous underwater vehicle (e-AUV) that can be launched directly from the coast.

Traditionally, marine surveys have required large crew ships and heavy sonar equipment to generate terabytes of data stored on hard drives that need to be mailed somewhere for processing and analysis.

Bedrock CEO and co-founder Anthony DiMare said such marine research can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and can take up to a year.

In contrast, his company’s electric mini-sub uses lightweight sonar and other sensors to collect data and send it to Bedrock’s cloud-based service. The company’s mosaic software makes it almost ready to use from a work PC.

Bedrock’s electric submarines are powered by lithium-ion batteries that can be replaced with freshly charged ones as needed. They carry out 12- or 24-hour missions, typically at speeds of 2-3 knots (or less than 5 mph), conducting surveys within 300 meters of the coast.

Bedrock was co-founded in 2019 by repeater and mechanical engineer DiMare and former SpaceX system integration engineer CTO Charlie Chiau.

They told CNBC that the company is now focusing on the needs of the domestic offshore wind industry, further motivated by the urgency of its IPCC report earlier this month.

However, Bedrock’s submarine mapping technology can be used in many other industries. For example, you can find dilapidated oil and gas infrastructure that may need to be decommissioned. It can also be used for underwater data center planning.

Bedrock has developed an electrically autonomous underwater vehicle and software for mapping the ocean floor.

Courtesy: Bedrock

To test the AUV before it was brought into open water, Chiau said Bedrock installed a 20-foot long, 5-foot-deep circular tank in its office in Richmond, California. It acts like an underwater treadmill, mimicking the streams and conditions that electric submarines may encounter in the ocean and perhaps the Great Lakes.

The company currently has only one commercially operating electric submarine, but the founder intends to build a fleet of them and send them underwater.

In March, Bedrock completed $ 8 million in seed round funding. It will be used for hiring, improving, producing, cloud services and software development for more electric submarines.

According to DiMare, the first 50 gigabytes of undersea data will always be provided free of charge for all users of the company’s Mosaic software to store and access. It was important for co-founders to give independent researchers and small teams access to the same kind of tools that large renewable energy developers have.

Bedrock’s Mosaic software displays seabed renderings.

Courtesy: Bedrock

In the short term, Bedrock expects to make money by selling submarine mapping and software as a service. It sends an electric AUV to scan for specific “polygons” (basically submarine land plots), collect data, clean it up, and pass it to customers via Mosaic.

To ensure that Bedrock employees have a personal connection to the ocean and a strong determination to protect the marine ecosystem, startups are new to what DiMare and Chiau call “marine allowances.” To provide. This offer can be used for all activities, including scuba diving lessons, surfboard rentals and guided kayaking tours.

The company aims to double its current workforce from about 25 to 50 next year, helping the United States catch up with European countries and ultimately China in terms of offshore wind capacity. ..

The United States is globally behind in one active offshore wind farm (30 MW Block Island Wind Farm), which went into commercial operation in 2016.

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