Neptune Robotics closes $17 million funding round for ship cleaning platform – IoT World Today
Robotic Hull Cleaning as a Service Improves Efficiency and Reduces Carbon Footprint of Merchant Vessels
Hong Kong hard-tech startup Neptune Robotics Ltd. just completed a major fundraising round for its proprietary ship hull cleaning robots, which can improve a ship’s energy efficiency by up to 20% by removing biomass that accumulates on its hull.
The $17.25 million Series A funding was led by Sequoia China Investment Management LLP, with participation from SOSV Investments LLC and Jingwei Venture Capital (Beijing) Investment Management Consulting Co. Ltd.
Neptune goes would have use the investment for new engineering and marine biology hires and to expand its robotics-as-a-service offerings beyond the ports of Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Yantian and Shekou.
Neptune’s data-driven platform uses AI, big data, intelligent cruise positioning and remote control to clean ship hulls above and below the waterline, regardless of the depth of the water. Using a cavitational water jet system, industrial grade ROVs can scrub the hull of a vessel without damaging its protective coating.
The system can operate 24/7 in complex scenarios, such as when a ship is loading, unloading, refueling or refueling. It currently takes a crew of four to operate one of Neptune’s robots; the company aims to reduce this number to two people for ships at anchor and one for ships in port.
Mud, barnacles and mussels that begin to build up on a ship’s hull within a month of cleaning can reduce a ship’s energy efficiency by up to 20%, CEO Elizabeth Chan said during of an investor. presentation. Clean hulls could save the world’s merchant fleet more than $173 billion in fuel each year, Chan said.
“We were immediately impressed with their focus and dedication to solving emissions in maritime logistics – an often overlooked area in the climate technology space,” said Duncan Turner, general partner at SOSV. “Unlike many other climate tech companies, Neptune can immediately have a significant impact on the climate (and they have already started).”
In addition to the operational benefits of biofouling removal, a cleanup collects data that allows vessel owners to optimize planning, gain insights into performance management, and assess the benefits of a proactive maintenance, Neptune said.
“We want to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and protect every drop of water in the ocean so our children live longer on Earth,” the company said.