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Seaformatics

There is a perpetually increasing need to collect and analyze real-time information about physical, chemical, and biological processes that are occurring in the world's oceans and waterways. Applications include pure science, health and human safety, environmental or military protection, or commercial exploitation.

Ocean data collection and measurement is a rapidly expanding market.

One of the challenges in the market for underwater sensors is the supply of reliable power. Traditional options are to use batteries or cables. Batteries provide a finite supply of power for a limited amount of time and travelling into the offshore environment to change them introduces high costs and risk. Power cables extending from shore or other installations in the area are extremely expensive and are prone to damage from trawling and other marine activities.

The Seaformatics Power Harvesting Bottom Mount (PHBM) and Mooring Power Generator (MPG) solve the power problem using a patented underwater turbine that harvests power from low speed ocean currents to recharge its battery pack. These devices significantly reduce cost and enable longer deployments by eliminating the cost and risks associated with frequent battery changes. The technology also enables long-term, real-time, and wide-area monitoring of multiple ocean parameters simultaneously from a variety of sensors with its integrated data logging and acoustic communications system.

The technology is the result of a research project at Memorial University of Newfoundland which began in 2007. The resultant technologies – the Seaformatics PHBM and MPG – incorporate a patented water turbine that generates power from ocean currents, a sensor interface subsystem for data collection and storage, an acoustic modem that allows for data communications between units and surface buoys, and a release mechanism for recovery. Prototypes have been successfully tested in the lab, flume tank, and for over 1400 days in real world field environments.