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‘Portal to the ocean’

Partnership with Marine Institute allows for game-changing innovation

Campus and Community

By Ryan Howell

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced the $3.4 million GeoScan Project on Aug. 11.

This Newfoundland and Labrador-led project will provide an innovative solution to de-risk offshore wind, oil and gas, and other offshore installations.

Led by PanGeo Subsea Inc, with B.C.-based partner Cellula Robotics and the Marine Institute of Memorial University, the GeoScan Project team will work together to reconfigure PanGeo’s Acoustic Core with Cellula’s robotic system to allow for a wider area scan functioning in underwater robotic systems while achieving depths greater than 30 meter sub-seabed.

This game-changing innovation will provide a three-dimensional volumetric interpretation of the sub-seabed geology with enhanced resolution and increased competitiveness for the global offshore renewable energy sector.

“The Holyrood Marine Base is the portal to the ocean for the Memorial University community for innovative oceans testing,” said Paul Brett, associate vice-president (research and strategic partnerships), Marine Institute.

“The GeoScan Project in-water testing is the first of many projects to take place at the expanded base as we continue to grow our capacity here and we thank the Ocean Sciences Centre and the project partners, PanGeo and Cellula, for the support.”

Creating prosperity

“Canada’s oceans, the bounty in their waters and the riches underneath them have created prosperity for generations of Canadians,” added Seamus O’Regan, minister, Natural Resources.

“PanGeo Subsea is building on our reputation as leaders in ocean technology, working with Cellula Robotics and Memorial University to better understand the ocean floor. This project will support a growing offshore wind sector and that helps get us to net zero.”

Paul Brett is standing behind a microphone and in front of Canadian flags and a ship. He is speaking to the audience attending the event.
Paul Brett, associate vice-president (research and strategic partnerships), Marine Institute, speaks to guests at the Aug. 11 announcement.
Photo: Submitted

With a total project value of $3.4 million, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster will provide $2 million in funding to the project with the balance coming from industry partners, marking the 37th Ocean Supercluster project announced to date.

“Cellula and PanGeo have a long-standing history of working together to solve technical challenges that dates to 2008 – we are both are familiar with each other’s technology and operations,” said Eric Jackson, president, Cellula Robotics.

“Our world-leading engineering solutions for subsea robotics have been used in geotechnical and geophysical applications around the world and we are happy to have the support of the Ocean Supercluster to expand on that expertise with the PanGeo led GeoScan Project.”

Collaborative research

This coast-to-coast collaborative research and development project aims to increase the quality of decision-making processes associated with the installation of infrastructure in complex glacial seabeds.

Ultimately, this technology will lead to a reduction of personnel offshore, faster data collection and improved efficiencies that will support Canada’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, while also advancing Canada’s leadership in the global blue economy.

“The GeoScan Project is an example of what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Susan Hunt, chief technology officer, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

“The Ocean Supercluster is built on collaboration from across the country and also across ocean sectors, and we are solving some of the biggest challenges in ocean and selling those solutions to the world. Led from right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, this project will help position Canada as a leader in subsea scanning and data collection, opening up new market opportunities, creating new economic activity and supporting the path to net zero.”

Moya Cahill is wearing an orange dress and speaking into the microphone podium. Behind her are two Canadian flags and a ship. To her left is a sign language interpreter wearing a black suit.
Moya Cahill, chief executive officer, PanGeo Subsea Inc., speaks about the importance of collaboration.
Photo: Submitted

Added Moya Cahill, chief executive officer, PanGeo Subsea Inc.: “The marrying of PanGeo and Cellula as industry collaborators will produce a high-quality technology platform ready for commercial use. Cellula and PanGeo are no strangers to collaboration, and we are excited to have the support and partnership of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster to spur on this coast-to-coast innovative GeoScan Project to develop a wide area acoustic scan for the offshore renewable sector.”

The GeoScan Project team will leverage its current position in the offshore renewables sector to launch the GeoScan into international markets, positioning Canada as a leader in subsea scanning and offshore data collection.

The project will create highly skilled, full-time positions and placements at both PanGeo Subsea and Cellula through its development and implementation.

About OSC

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a pan-Canadian, industry-led transformative cluster focused on tackling some of the biggest challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally relevant solutions, while also building a highly-capable, inclusive workforce. The Ocean Supercluster has approved 56 projects to date with a total value of more than $290 million which will deliver more than 100 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes and services to sell to the world.


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