Deep Reach Technology, Inc. Receives $500,000 Advanced Research Projects Agency Grant to Develop a Subsea Mining System that Mitigates the Environmental Impact of Sediment Plumes
Houston, Texas (USA) – May 1, 2020
Deep Reach Technology, Inc. (“DRT”) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) Grant by the United States Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (“ARPA-E”) for the development of an “Improved Manganese Nodule Collector Design to Mitigate Sediment Plumes”. ARPA-E is a United States government agency tasked with promoting and funding research and development of advanced energy technologies. The ARPA-E grant will fund the advancement of DRT’s design, laboratory testing of seabed sediment separation and flocculation processes, completion of a techno-economic analysis, and development of a bench scale model of the envisioned system. DRT’s patent-pending design addresses two of the most important environmental concerns related to the emerging deep-sea mining industry: the generation of fine sediment plumes by the subsea nodule collector, and the generation of fine sediment plumes in the water column as a result of the shipboard nodule dewatering processes.
Deep-sea nodule mining presents an opportunity to supply the world’s growing demand for minerals to support the Green Economy such as battery metals and rare earth elements (“technology metals”). The demand for technology metals has expanded with the accelerated growth in renewable energy, electric vehicles, smart-devices, and personal computing devices. With the support of the ARPA-E grant, DRT’s project will advance deep sea nodule collector designs by providing a system that will both remove low-value sediment from being introduced to the vertical transport system and mitigate the potential environmental effects of sediment plumes generated by deep sea mining activity.
The DRT team includes a number of design and academic leaders in the field, including; Dr. John Halkyard, who oversaw the successful development and testing of a manganese nodule collector for a consortium led by Kennecott Copper Corporation in the 1970’s; Mr. David Felix, a sedimentary geologist that served as Chief Geologist for the Kennecott project; Mr. Richard Petters, a project engineer on the Ocean Management, Inc. (“OMI”) pilot tests in 1978 which successfully recovered 800 tons of nodules; Dr. Robert Blevins, a well-known expert in fluid dynamics; Redwing Engineering, experts in Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling; Paterson & Cooke, slurry systems design specialists; Elgin Separation Solutions, Inc., a leader in the turn-key design and production of liquid-solid separation systems; and Ground Effects Environmental Services, Inc., specialists in novel approaches to wastewater treatment.
As noted by Dr. Halkyard, DRT’s Founder and Chairman, “We could not be more excited to work with the ARPA-E team on this exciting technology. If properly executed, this grant will provide DRT the ability to evolve and validate a design that will help make commercial deep sea mining an environmentally safe reality.” For further information contact Mr. Steven Rizea, DRT President at SRizea@deepreachtech.com or Dr. Halkyard, at JHalkyard@deepreachtech.com.