Swiss-based Allseas has awarded Dutch subsea technology company Seatools the contract for the delivery of the complete electrical, hydraulic and control system for Allseas’ deep-sea mining nodule collector.
Driven by the green energy transition, the interest in high-grade seafloor polymetallic nodule deposits has risen in the past few years due to the depleting terrestrial deposits for metals such as copper, nickel, manganese and cobalt. Nevertheless, subsea mining does not take place on a commercial scale yet as current technology readiness levels fall short.
Last year, Allseas announced it acquired an ultra-deepwater drillship to be converted into a subsea mining vessel, and the offshore contractor aims to develop advanced deepwater equipment to gather nodules from the ocean floor. A key component of the equipment under development is a tracked subsea vehicle for the collection of polymetallic nodules. The purpose of this crawler vehicle is to maneuver over the seabed, collect mineral rich nodules from the sea floor, and transport them to a surface vessel.
While the core nodule collection technology and surrounding mechanical assembly will be developed in-house, Allseas has contracted Seatools to bring its nodule collector alive by the delivery of the entire hydraulic, electronic and control system. Seatools will perform the entire engineering trajectory, spanning design, building, testing and delivering of the subsea crawler’s infrastructure and related vessel equipment required to operate the vehicle at full ocean depth.