Two Victoria companies receive funding for ocean projects

Two Victoria companies receive funding for ocean projects
Ocean Open Robotics/submitted
Open Ocean Robotics has received money for its uncrewed vehicles that can capture information and send it back to researchers instantly.

The provincial government has given funding to two Victoria companies to support creating jobs ocean-based jobs.

Open Ocean Robotics and South Island Prosperity Partnership’s Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) are the two companies receiving money.

“B.C. innovators are building connections, developing technology and fuelling research that will help transition B.C. to a low-carbon economy, including in the ocean-based sector,” said Josie Osborne, minister of energy, mines and low-carbon innovation.

“Support for these leading-edge, pre-commercial projects ensures that British Columbians can continue to benefit from the growth and diversification of our first-class clean-technology sector.”

Open Ocean Robotics is receiving $1.75 million to develop uncrewed surface vehicles that are solar-powered and have sensors, cameras, and communication devices that can capture information and relay it back to researchers instantly.

“Our oceans are inherently extremely difficult to monitor when you think about the challenges of putting a crewed ship out on the water,” Julie Angus, the CEO of Open Ocean Robotics said. “So these autonomous boats can go out there for a fraction of the cost without putting any people at risk, and they’re completely zero emission.”

RELATED: Road to Recovery: How solar-powered robot boats fit into the ocean economy

Angus says one of the benefits is these boats can go out for months at a time and can communicate with researchers no matter where they are in the ocean by satellite, radio, or cellular and they are remote-controlled from Victoria.

COAST is receiving $2 million to work with other companies, researchers, or startups to connect them and help find new opportunities in ocean-related fields and to make ocean sectors more sustainable.

“The oceans are at the front lines of climate change, we’re seeing there’s so much pollution that’s occurring from maritime shipping,” Emilie de Rosenroll, the inaugural chief executive officer of COAST said.

“There’s some very aggressive targets to reduce that, the GHG reduction, so oceans are really at the forefront of a lot of different places where climate change is really, really something that’s very visible.”

These two projects are part of the seven total that the government is funding through its Innovative Clean Energy program, which aims to advance B.C.’s clean energy sector.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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