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Jan Lee headshot

New Ocean Technology Accelerator Launched

By Jan Lee

There's a new startup accelerator that is working to revolutionize the way we use and protect ocean resources.

The Ocean Solutions Accelerator, the brainchild of the nonprofit the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, announced last month that it had identified five new ocean startups to join its inaugural accelerator program. The five were selected based on their potential to "benefit the health of the ocean" and their ingenuity in addressing specific industrial challenges, including ocean pollution. The accelerator was specifically tailored to help encourage young -- age 35 and younger -- entrepreneurs to develop a niche in sustainable marine-related technologies.

The selected startups include:

  • Blockcycle, which plans to use blockchain technology to incentivize private and public entities to engage in the waste-to-value marketplace;

  • ETAC, a Mexican-Canadian company based in Culican, Mexico that designs and produces nanomaterials for energy and environmental applications such as spill and wastewater cleanups;

  • Loliware, which is working toward ways to replace plastics with hyper-compostable and edible materials like seaweed;

  • Safety Catch Technologies, a pioneer in "smart" fishing technologies that reduce bycatch of wrong species and ages and the extinction of valuable marine species;

  • and the San Francisco-based Call Wave Power Technologies, which is working to harness energy from ocean waves.

SOA says it has convened a community of marine experts, including scientists, investors and entrepreneurs to help the startups develop and launch their projects.

"By supporting these incredible startups, we are encouraging young people to take ownership of the environmental threats facing their communities, bet against consensus and re-invent existing markets to benefit, instead of harm, our climate, and ocean," said Daniela Fernandez, founder and CEO of Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

The five startups will have an opportunity to showcase their projects at the end of the accelerator at the SOA Ocean Solutions Gala on Sept. 11 at the California Academy of Sciences. The gala is scheduled to dovetail with the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Ocean organisms, such as phytoplankton, are considered incredibly important to the earth's oxygen production. The bacteria prochlorococcus and other phytoplankton have in the past been credited with the photosynthesis of more than 70 percent of the earth's oxygen. In recent years, however, scientists have revised that number, noting that global warming continues to create a decline in the photosynthesis from ocean sources. Since the 1950s, according to National Geographic, photosynthesis from marine sources has dropped by more than 40 percent.

The Ocean Solutions Accelerator is designed to find ways to counter this statistic by developing new, sustainable industries that may help protect marine life.

Image credit: Mike Baird (Flickr)

Jan Lee headshot

Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.

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