DEEP to establish sustained human presence beneath the ocean by 2027

A UK-based ocean technology and exploration company, with the mission to ‘Make Humans Aquatic,’ reveals its ambitious plans to establish a permanent human presence on the ocean floor.

Sound like something out of a Star Wars film? We agree. But the oceans play a central role in addressing many of the world’s generational challenges and present untapped opportunities.

As the source of every other breath we take, the oceans significantly influence weather, climate, and human life. Despite this, the life-sustaining ecosystem of the oceans remains largely unexplored. Steve Etherton, EMEA President of DEEP, has emphasized the critical need to preserve the oceans by gaining a deeper understanding of them.

DEEP to empower oceanic scientists

DEEP’s innovative technology aims to empower scientists to operate at significant depths for extended periods. In turn, this will contribute to a better understanding of this vital environment.

The DEEP System comprises ‘Sentinel’, an underwater habitat, along with a groundbreaking array of submersibles, diving equipment, and scientific research tools.

The comprehensive offering includes support from technical and human performance training programs through DEEP Institute, as well as access to a unique underwater research and development test facility known as DEEP Campus.

The Sentinel: DEEP’s modular underwater habitat

The Sentinel, accredited globally by DNV, the premier classification society for underwater technology, empowers scientists to reside below the ocean’s surface at depths of up to 200 meters for an unprecedented duration of 28 days.

This breakthrough capability will essentially provide scientists and researchers extensive access to the majority of the world’s continental shelves.

Significantly, the ability to descend to 200 meters opens up the entire Epipelagic, or “sunlight,” zone, where sunlight penetrates the ocean. It is estimated that 90% of marine life resides in this zone, making comprehensive exploration of this oceanic realm a huge advancement compared to traditional surface-based incursions. This marks a paradigm shift in how scientists can observe, monitor, and comprehend the oceans.

DEEP’s initial 2 year research period proves a huge success

After two years of intensive and groundbreaking research focused on innovative manufacturing processes and materials science, DEEP has now reached an advanced stage in technical design and initiated production.

The DEEP system introduces a remarkably more efficient approach to living and operating underwater than previously available. In contrast to previous fixed-location and temporary underwater facilities, DEEP’s habitat is modular, scalable, autonomous, recoverable, re-configurable, and re-deployable.

Out of sight and out of mind – not having a better understanding of the oceans is no longer an option

Sean Wolpert, President, Americas of DEEP

Sean Wolpert, President, Americas of DEEP said: “Out of sight and out of mind – not having a better understanding of the oceans is no longer an option. DEEP is coming out of stealth mode now as we need to take others on this journey.

We are already talking to potential international partners, and others with a long-term view of the needs of the planet, who recognise that the up-side for humanity in preserving and husbanding the oceans is now too great to ignore.

Looking at the themes around the emerging new ocean/blue economy we hear of opportunity and solutions in pharmaceutical research, in carbon capture, in innovative medicines. This is about how we can cooperate and can begin to work with the oceans for generations to come. DEEP offer to partners a way to do this hitherto impossible.”

The DEEP Project chose the South West and Wales in the UK as its inaugural base due to the distinctive concentration of pertinent marine engineering, diving, hyperbaric, and submersible expertise, as well as strong connections with the broader UK commercial and technical diving industry. This convergence forms the cornerstone for establishing a novel industrial and scientific ecosystem.

Mike Shackleford, President, Global Services of DEEP said: “We have made significant investments in advanced manufacturing processes, and will build one of the world’s leading fabrication facilities with innovative production methods which will reduce waste, enhance energy efficiency, offer bespoke design and shorten manufacturing timelines. DEEP’s facilities already house our prototyping and pre-production capabilities as well as advanced material testing infrastructure not found elsewhere in the UK, and this is just the beginning”.

Committing resources to DEEP Campus will revolutionize the former National Dive & Activity Centre, turning it into a cutting-edge controlled water facility measuring 600 meters in length, 100 meters in width, and 80 meters in depth. This facility is designed for comprehensive training, testing, and research activities.

DEEP Campus is poised to play a central role in the regional ecosystem by serving as a crucial venue for developmental exercises not only for DEEP but also for regional, national, and international collaborators and partners.

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