Breakthrough Technology Opens Oceans to the Green Economy

A startup pioneered a new way to discover cleantech resources on the seafloor.

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Impossible Sensing, a St. Louis-based deep tech start-up specializing in optical sensors and edge analytics, partners with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to pioneer a new way to discover cleantech resources on the seafloor. Impossible Sensing’s breakthrough technology, VIPER, brings, for the first time, robotic laboratories to the bottom of the ocean to identify and quantify the location, size, and nature of mineral deposits and biological communities.

VIPER utilizes Impossible Sensing's space exploration technologies, originally developed for NASA, to fully map and discover marine minerals in the U.S. exclusive economic zone while providing important information on sensitive habitats and species. Not only will these advances mitigate strategic vulnerabilities of the U.S. and support a global shift to clean energy, but they will also document deep-sea biodiversity.

VIPER is the first cost-effective tool that will discover and evaluate marine cleantech resources. “To fulfill its mission, BOEM needs to gather further information on the location and extent of critical minerals on the outer continental shelf,” Mark Leung, Geologist and BOEM’s Office of Strategic Resources highlights. “Impossible Sensing’s VIPER technology finally breaks the value-cost trade-off by providing us with the tools we need to map the OCS.”

Impossible Sensing and BOEM estimate that 100 km2 mineral and environmental surveys can be completed in days, rather than months, without the need to take samples. “This is the type of transformative innovation that BOEM and its partnering agencies require to advance ocean exploration goals,” remarks Leung.

VIPER will also help reduce carbon emissions, according to Impossible Sensing Founder and CEO Pablo Sobron.

“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. 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.”

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