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Investors Are Diving Deep Into OceanTech


While the land-based carbon economy continues to go from strength to strength, investors are now taking a deep dive toward the multi-trillion dollar ‘blue economy’, or OceanTech, as the next sustainable solution to impede the growing threat of climate change.

More than two-thirds of the surface of the earth is covered by oceans, which are essential to maintaining the planet’s ecosystem. It plays a crucial part in supplying fresh oxygen and food security for millions of people by absorbing 80% of the excess heat and 60% of the CO2 in the atmosphere.

However, last year witnessed sea levels, ocean heating and acidification and greenhouse gas concentrations reaching record levels, putting the world in an ‘ocean emergency’. Nearly 80% of the world’s wastewater is still discharged into the sea without treatment. Without drastic action, plastic could outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050, as millions of tons of plastic get dumped into the oceans each year.

With an estimated worth of $2.8 trillion, equivalent to the largest seventh economy in the world, could the OceanTech sector balloon in 2023? This article explores the intricacies of what OceanTech entails and spotlights the drivers making the sector a force to be reckoned with.

What is OceanTech?

Seagrass, mangroves and shoreline biodiversity may spring to mind when thinking about OceanTech, but many aspects of the sector have yet to be explored. From commercializing ocean energy to enhancing ocean sustainability and improving food security, a blue economy utilizes ocean ecosystems to reduce the severity of climate change and its impacts.

Its importance is paramount to the future of our planet. We get our food, energy, and oxygen from the seas and oceans. Moreover, they aid in controlling temperatures as the largest carbon sink on the earth. But in addition to the worrisome rate at which glaciers are melting and sea levels are increasing, ocean temperatures are rising owing to human-caused global warming by becoming more acidic. According to the United Nations (UN), these changes are having a long-term effect on marine diversity and communities all over the world, including “approximately 680 million people who live in low-lying coastal areas, almost two billion people who inhabit the majority of the world’s megacities, the nearly three billion people who depend on fish for protein, and the approximately 60 million people who work in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors worldwide.”

We are beginning to comprehend the effects of human activity on our oceans as we improve our ability to measure it. The feedback loop closure acts as a powerful catalyst for change, upending established maritime industries. With such disruption, an opportunity has arisen…

Decarbonizing Shipping

As new laws reduce engine emissions, the commercial shipping sector is being forced to reevaluate its use of fossil fuels. Several startups have seized this chance to assist ships and ports in reducing emissions and implementing clean energy solutions. A few of the concepts aiding the marine industry in reducing energy use and decarbonizing include the development of sustainable biofuels to replace heavy fuel oil, hydrogen fuel cells for vessel propulsion, or optimising voyages depending on the weather and currents to reduce fuel usage.

Cleaning Up Plastic Pollution

Each year, eight million tonnes of human waste, a large portion of which is plastic, end up in the ocean, damaging marine life and raising concerns among the public. This has sparked the development of numerous techniques to remove the debris contaminating our waters, such as autonomous trash-eating robots and enormous floating booms in the middle of the ocean. It has also led to the development of new products and business models that promote recycling and waste reduction.

Sustainable Seafood

To address the rising demand for seafood, society is looking for sustainable solutions. One-third of the world’s fisheries are exploited above their biological carrying capacities, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization. Entrepreneurs are putting forward innovations to aid in the sustainability of fisheries, such as smart traps that register data about their capture and location and online trade systems that track seafood from the sea to the table.

The Drivers of OceanTech

The first significant blue economy venture fund, Propella, is inspiring other companies in the ClimateTech industry to look to the water for fresh prospects. With its team combining years of company building and investing experience with deep ocean-climate knowledge and networks, it invests in transformational leaders at the earliest stages of ocean-climate innovation in massive markets.

The urgent need for greater marine technology and scientific understanding to strengthen ocean resilience has prompted a rising number of OceanTech startups.

  • One company is Sofar Ocean Technologies, which produces two tools for exploring unfamiliar areas: sensors that can gauge the ocean’s surface conditions and an underwater drone that anyone can use to explore below the water’s surface.
  • Running Tide employs a hands-on strategy for cultivating and installing kelp microforests in the deep ocean to sequester carbon. The business develops automated methods for raising clams and oysters in an effort to supply high-quality protein while preserving coastlines.
  • Littoral Power Systems is developing sustainable and resilient approaches to water power technologies to address the issues of cost, environmental impact, and regulatory complexity in hydropower and ocean energy in the hopes to reduce the time, cost and risk of getting projects built.
  • Seaweed is being employed by CarbonWave as part of a systems-level strategy to address CO2 sequestration, pollution, and volatility. By decreasing waste as well as assisting in the reduction and offsetting of emissions from fossil fuels and conventional plastics, the restoration of seaweed is enabling resilient circular economies through its products like SeaBalance Emulsifiers, Sarga Agriscience, and plant-based fabrics.

How Storm4 Can Help

As leaders in OceanTech recruitment, we have a vast network of mission-led candidates looking to find their next opportunity within OceanTech. If you are looking to find your next senior hire to spearhead operations and propel your startup to deeper waters, get in touch today!

We’ve helped some of the most successful GreenTech startups grow.

— now it’s your turn.

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