Autonomous Robots Could Harvest Metals from the Ocean Floor

By: | September 9th, 2020

Image courtesy: Pliant Energy Systems

The vast swathes of Deep Ocean are not only rich in sea life; they are also rich in metals – nickel, copper, cobalt, zinc, etc. These rare earth metals are vital to most of the current technology we use today like smartphones, electric vehicle batteries, TVs, solar panels, and other devices.

Rising demand for these metals along-with depleting terrestrial deposits is stimulating interest in deep-sea mining. However, the problem with deep-sea mining is that any invasive mining processes can irreversibly damage fragile ecosystems.

Image courtesy: Pliant Energy Systems

Autonomous robots to speed up the exploration

But a renewable energy firm Pliant Energy Systems thinks it can solve the problem. Pliant Energy Systems (PES) has created an autonomous robot which it calls ‘C-Ray’. C-Ray robot harnesses the power of water to generate renewable energy.

This submersible autonomous robot can be used as a less invasive ocean mining tool that can reach harsh deep-sea environments while avoiding any environmental damage. They can safely suck up the mineral ore at the seabed and bring it to the surface with ease.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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