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Fund supports robot marine monitoring, ‘blue’ economy

Press Release

March 28, 2023

VICTORIA – B.C.-based “blue” technology and innovation is creating jobs for British Columbians, building a sustainable ocean economy, cutting the cost of ocean research and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“B.C. innovators are building connections, developing technology and fuelling research that will help transition B.C. to a low-carbon economy, including in the ocean-based sector,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Support for these leading-edge, pre-commercial projects ensures that British Columbians can continue to benefit from the growth and diversification of our first-class clean-technology sector.”

Seven projects received a total of $7 million from the Province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, two of which will support the ocean-based economy.

Victoria-based Open Ocean Robotics received $1.75 million to develop solar-powered, uncrewed surface vehicles with sensors, cameras and communication devices that can capture information from anywhere on the ocean and relay it to researchers instantly. Its solar-powered robot surface vehicles can travel non-stop for months without producing any greenhouse gas emissions, noise pollution or risk of oil spills.

South Island Prosperity Partnership’s (SIPP)’s Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) received $2 million to serve as a catalyst and cluster facilitator for the blue economy up and down British Columbia’s coastline. COAST is filling a gap in the West Coast’s ocean and marine industry by connecting emerging technologies to large industry players like shipping, shipbuilding and defence/aerospace.

“Our government recognizes the need to support research and development in emerging sectors, like the ocean economy,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Our province can and should play a key role in supporting projects that directly address climate change, and prepare people and communities across B.C. for both the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The ICE Fund is part of CleanBC, the Province’s pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. CleanBC guides government’s commitment to climate action to meet B.C.’s emissions targets and build a cleaner, stronger economy for everyone.


Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs Economic Development and Innovation –

“Investing in clean-energy ocean projects is crucial to supporting a strong, sustainable, innovative economy that creates good jobs for British Columbians. These projects align with our StrongerBC Economic Plan and our commitment to fostering innovative opportunities and strengthening our clean-technology sector.”

Julie Angus, chief executive officer and co-founder, Open Ocean Robotics –

“We are honoured to receive this support from the Innovative Clean Energy Fund to advance our technology and scale our ability to serve British Columbia’s growing blue economy. Our solar-powered boats, also known as uncrewed surface vehicles, collect and analyze real-time ocean data for environmental monitoring, illegal fishing enforcement and security. Zero-emission, affordable and persistent, our technology will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve ocean protection and facilitate the sustainable growth of ocean industries in B.C. and beyond.”

Emilie de Rosenroll, chief executive officer, COAST –

“We are grateful to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation for their investment. COAST is on an exciting journey to fulfil our 2030 vision to establish Pacific Canada as a world leader in ocean technology innovations that create scaled economic and environmental impacts. We’ll achieve this goal by bringing key stakeholders together around innovation, export and collaboration, fostering competitive advantages from startup to scale-up, and facilitating access to global market opportunities for made-in-B.C. solutions.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. is home to a growing clean-energy sector and accounts for nearly 35% of Canada’s clean-technology firms.
  • Since 2008, the ICE Fund has committed approximately $112 million to support pre-commercial clean-energy technology projects, clean-energy vehicles, research and development, and energy-efficiency programs.
  • ICE funding comes from a levy on the final sale of specified energy products – natural gas, fuel oil and propane distribution systems.
  • ICE partnerships include First Nations, universities, municipalities and many emerging clean-technology companies throughout British Columbia.

Learn More:

To learn about Open Ocean Robotics, visit:

To learn about COAST, visit:

To learn about the Innovative Clean Energy Fund, visit:

To learn about the CleanBC plan, visit:

A backgrounder follows.


Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 208-2743


Innovative projects advance B.C. clean technology sector

Seven projects recently funded from the Province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund are helping B.C. transition to a low-carbon economy, while creating new job opportunities in developing technologies.

Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST)

South Island Prosperity Partnership’s (SIPP) COAST initiative will help local innovators connect to large industry players, supporting their growth and the development of technology and research that will help improve ocean management as well as efforts to reduce climate change. COAST will support development in traditional blue economy industries, such as aquaculture and fisheries, global shipping routes and port activities, and offshore oil and gas, as well as shipping, shipbuilding and defence/aerospace.

Open Ocean Robotics

Based in Victoria, Open Ocean Robotics develops and operates un-crewed surface vehicles (USVs) with data acquisition and analytics to provide autonomous monitoring of ocean conditions, marine life and maritime domain awareness. The Data Xplorer is a compact robotic vessel that is solar-powered and can withstand rough ocean conditions, while conducting missions of weeks to months. The data from its optical, physical and acoustic sensor systems is available in near real-time for improved ocean awareness and protection.

Pani Energy

Pani, headquartered in Victoria, is using artificial intelligence tools to optimize the operation of water-treatment infrastructure, resulting in as much as a 10% reduction in energy use and 10% reduction in chemical use.

Technology developed by Pani will be demonstrated at eight sites throughout Canada, the United States and Asia, creating an anticipated 27 jobs in the near term and throughout the project, including in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as marketing, sales and administration.

Axine Water

Axine Water is headquartered in Vancouver and has 21 employees. The company was created to develop and commercialize advanced electrochemistry technology and was named a 2020 Global Cleantech 100 company.

Axine’s second-generation wastewater treatment system includes improvements in hardware and software that yield efficiency and cost savings, as well as environmental benefits, by using new sensors, data analytics and a unique electrode, which more efficiently treats the entire stream.

Ecoation Innovation

Ecoation, headquartered in North Vancouver with 53 employees, will develop and demonstrate a robot- and artificial-intelligence-enabled platform for greenhouses that reduces pesticide use and increases grower yield by 5%.


Terramera is headquartered in Vancouver and has 115 employees. The company is developing a remote-sensing, data-enabled verification technology to provide highly accurate estimates of soil carbon and a detailed history of farming practices for a given piece of land.

Miru Smart Technologies

Miru Smart Technologies (formerly Click Materials) is a venture-backed, advanced-materials, University-of-British-Columbia spinoff based in Vancouver.

Miru’s new process creates electrochromic windows that tint electronically. Their process cuts window costs by half and can result in home energy savings as much as 30%, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment.


Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 208-2743


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