Impossible Metals is developing proof-of-concept engineering for selective harvesting of deep sea polymetallic nodules. An AUV robotics fleet is being developed using “pick and place” manipulator technology to harvest nodules individually, minimizing disturbance of the sediment and seafloor ecosystems. Image-sensing technology will identify megafauna present on the nodules and leave those nodules untouched, preserving nodule-dependent fauna. The major advantages of this system include:
- Low environmental impacts – avoidance of nodule fauna, no significant plume, no return water, no impact to sediment structure or sediment fauna. Low light and noise pollution.
- Scalable – no single point(s) of failure, ability to start with low production rate and increase over time.
- Cost-effectiveness – While 30+ year old dredging technology has high CAPEX/OPEX with 9 year payback time, our autonomous fleet can pay back the capital in 3 years for the same rate of production.