SeaSTAR: Selective Thalassic Ambulatory Retriever

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Exploratory Topics
San Francisco, California
Project Term:
04/01/2020 - 12/31/2021

Technology Description:

The abyssal plain contains concentrated deposits of polymetallic nodules (critical minerals), an untapped resource of relevant minerals. Current prototype polymetallic nodule collectors propose to function as indiscriminate vacuums, strip-mining the sea floor and transporting everything to the surface to be filtered, with significant ecological and economic costs. Otherlab proposes to develop the “SeaSTAR” nodule collector, a large platform attached to a vacuum funnel ringed by robot arms. The arms would walk the collector across the abyssal plain while selectively picking up nodules and depositing them into a vacuum for transport to the surface. This selectivity will reduce the environmental impact and cost of deep-sea mining operations.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Conor O'Brien
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