Seatrec’s Deep Dive — Earth Day 2022

5 min readApr 21, 2022

🌎 Invest in Our Blue Planet!

We wish every day could be Earth Day! At Seatrec, we’re always celebrating our Blue Planet. We are determined to provide continually improving access to deep ocean data and insights, allowing us all better knowledge of our ocean and climate.

📰 This Deep Dive’s highlights:

  1. EmergingTechBrew’s feature on how Seatrec’s use of pelagic power to map the seafloor,
  2. How the sounds of the ocean help us understand our planet, and
  3. Setting our sights on the middle of nowhere — Point Nemo


Jordan McDonald interviewed our CEO, Yi Chao, for a feature in EmergingTechBrew, “Seatrec’s self-replenishing batteries could make ocean research cheaper.” Jordan’s article detailed Seatrec’s long-term plans to extend our energy harvesting tech to additional ocean-related applications (e.g., portable power for seaweed farming or adding hydrophones to our equipment that could detect sounds as varied as animal migrations, marine mammal communications, or underwater volcanoes.)

“When it comes to understanding the ocean, sound is everything.” -Yi Chao

🔊Sound Matters

Ocean sounds are a profound insight into what is really happening in the deep blue. Sounds provide a treasure trove of information that can help us understand elements as diverse as climate change and the impact of human noise pollution on the marine ecosystem. Unfortunately, current methods of measuring the ocean’s soundscape are logistically complex and prohibitively expensive. Recently, Yi authored a Forbes Tech Council article, “It’s Time to Listen to the Ocean — Literally,” highlighting how new technology will significantly improve access to acoustic observations. This will empower marine biologists like Asha de Vos to capture more whale sounds, and geophysicist Wenbo Wu to seamlessly eavesdrop on what’s shaking on the ocean floor. Soon it will even be possible to equip the 4000 profiling floats in the Argo Network with hydrophones to exponentially improve how we monitor oceans and protect marine life.

Read on to see why we’re going to the middle of nowhere….literally!

🌐 Seatrec and Seabed 2030 Launch Project NEMO

Seatrec and Seabed 2030 recently announced an MOU for Project NEMO (Novel Echosounder to Measure the Ocean). This project aims to map the most remote and mysterious area on the planet — Point Nemo — using Seatrec-powered profiling floats equipped with echosounders. Because of its isolation, Point Nemo is especially difficult to study, making it emblematic of the challenges scientists face in understanding and mapping the ocean.

A Sound Strategy with a Dream Team

As we mentioned in our last Deep Dive, only 20% of the seafloor is currently mapped, and since energy is the bottleneck, we believe Seatrec can help map the remaining 80% cost-effectively. The collaboration with Seabed2030 could not be possible without our extended team. We’re grateful to have our project leader, world-renowned marine geologist Larry Mayer, Professor and Director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, and the echosounder innovators at Airmar Technology Corporation and Innomar Technologie GmbH. Special thanks to Schmidt Marine Technology Partners for initial funding!

“Mapping the seafloor will have a direct impact on the future of our planet, and as a result, that of humanity. Cutting-edge technology like Project NEMO is critical to helping us achieve our goal of mapping the seafloor by 2030.”

— Jamie McMichael-Philips, Seabed 2030 Project Director

Areas where better seafloor mapping will help us

🎙 Podcasts!

Seatrec hit the podcast circuit, including the Wave Makers’ Podcast with host Tamara Kahn. Tamara spoke with Yi about his journey from NASA JPL to commercializing ocean technology and the power of temperature differences! Business guru Scott McKenzie featured Yi on his “Industrial Talk” podcast, discussing the importance of mapping the remaining 80% of the ocean floor.

🏄 Welcome, Matt Moldovan (beware — he breaks things)

Meet Matt Moldovan, Seatrec’s new Project Engineer. Matt has 18 years of experience in the marine industry. He also has multiple patents to his name, including one for an autonomous profiling winch on moving boats and another for a coaxial propeller drive system on uncrewed aerial vehicles. Matt was the lead engineer of the Oceanographic Observatories Initiative at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, a multimillion-dollar project to design and implement 12 subsurface oceanographic moorings around the Americas. He has been on over twenty global oceanographic cruises and numerous coastal cruises. He knows first-hand the harsh environments open-ocean products must survive, so we know our testing will become even more rigorous. Matt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. When he’s not working on sustainable energy solutions, you will find him surfing, climbing, slacklining, and defying the laws of physics.

🌊 Tuning in

Breathtaking ocean views, the breeze on our faces, the smell of the sea, the coolness of the water, and the sound of crashing waves. Such are the many romantic sensations we experience sitting on a beach, mesmerized by the horizon. But what we will learn from listening to and understanding the shape and depths of our ocean will add an entirely different dimension to our appreciation of this wonderful planet.

Happy Earth Day!





Infinite energy from the ocean. Makers of thermal energy harvesting systems that generate electricity from the thermocline to power floats and gliders.