Seatrec, a clean energy startup based in Southern California, has secured financing to further develop the TREC Thermal RECharging Battery, a power supply that generates electricity from temperature differences in the ocean.
The TREC Battery is designed to power a wide range of underwater systems.
The technology employs a non-toxic material with the capacity to dramatically expand and contract with changes in temperature. These changes in volume are used to generate electrical power, the company explained.
The patented technology, researched, prototyped and field tested by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is licensed to Seatrec by Caltech.
During an 18-month sea trial in deep waters off the coast of Hawaii, a TREC Battery-powered underwater unmanned vehicle (UUV) completed more than 1000 dives, each to a depth of 500 meters while recording depth, ocean temperature, and salinity.
At the end of each dive, its oceanographic data and GPS location were uploaded via satellite link to a ground station. When the autonomous test vehicle had completed its mission, it signaled its location with a GPS beacon for a recovery by ship.
The TREC Battery development was financed by funds from angel investors, grants from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Breakout Labs, and Schmidt Marine Technology Partners.