Despite the ocean’s critical role in sustaining human life and planetary cycles, it remains a poorly understood environmental system. As we seek to address climate change and develop a sustainable ocean economy that supports humans and a thriving ocean ecosystem, an increased understanding of our oceans is imperative.
At S2G Ventures, we believe technologies that offer unprecedented insights into our oceans are critical for altering the trajectory of ocean health, climate resilience, and the blue economy. We are excited to announce our investment in Apeiron Labs, a company dedicated to scaling upper ocean observation to transform our understanding of the current and future state of our oceans.
The Ocean Data Gap
Oceans cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface, provide 90 percent of its heat storage capacity, and absorb about 30 percent of emitted CO2. More than three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and the blue economy is estimated to be worth more than $1.5 trillion per year globally. Monitoring changes in our oceans is critical to understanding weather patterns, climatic changes, and economic development opportunities.
But there is a major gap in our knowledge about the oceans due to the prohibitive costs of pervasive ocean sensing (not to mention the carbon footprint of traditional data collection methods such as crewed vessels). Further, some types of ocean data are not collected densely enough to maximize their impact.. Satellites can provide surface data and survey vehicles can collect data at specific points in time and space, but neither approach provides persistent and pervasive 4-dimensional volumetric data from the surface to approximately 400 meters. This layer is essential to understanding ocean ecosystems and climate and is the interface between the atmosphere and the deep ocean.
The Untapped Opportunity for Volumetric Data
Apeiron Labs’ Tensor (for persistenT sENSOR) platform captures upper-ocean data. This platform consists of large, cost-effective networks of persistent sensors that can gather volumetric data, such as temperature and salinity readings, for months or even years at a time. These sensor systems are uncrewed, autonomous, and capable of station-keeping and delivering real-time spatially persistent data. The goal is to decrease the marginal cost and carbon footprint of distributed ocean sensing by orders of magnitude. The company’s proprietary visualization and analytics tools, available through a data-as-service offering, will address the gap in data analytics capabilities that has become a critical bottleneck for the effective use of available ocean data.
The applications of this data are limitless. Persistent upper ocean data is necessary to create efficiencies and reduce costs across industries, such as shipping, renewable energy, and aquaculture. Improved weather forecasting can help ships avoid extreme weather as well as save on costs, improve route efficiency, and reduce fuel use. Apeiron Labs' Tensors can conduct real-time passive acoustic monitoring, which can speed up the construction of offshore wind farms. For precision aquaculture to be productive and sustainable, companies must understand the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the ocean in which they operate. Data collected by Tensors can also play a critical role in meeting sustainability objectives, enabling countries to measure sustainability regulations and companies to track ESG goals.
The initial spark for the concept of Aperion Labs was born when the former President of Woods Hole, Mark Abbott, was thinking about applying the IoT revolution happening on land and in space to the ocean. He approached Ravi Pappu in 2016, who was heavily involved in the IoT space at ThingMagic, which was acquired by Trimble Navigation. Mark and Ravi began brainstorming about the possibilities of scaling ocean observing. Eight years later, in 2022, Applied Invention and S2G Ventures co-founded Apeiron Labs and brought on Ravi as CEO. The company has assembled an impressive team of experts in autonomy, robotics, ocean engineering, mechanical engineering, rapid prototyping, embedded hardware/firmware, and data engineering/science to embark on this challenge.
We are one year into partnering with Apeiron Labs and are excited to see the team grow as they work to fill these critical gaps in ocean data and tap into the limitless possibilities for improving ocean and planetary health and developing a resilient blue economy.