Seatrec provides clean energy solutions to power underwater drones with increased lifetime and reduced cost.

Website | Sector: Energy Generation

Proof Points

Underwater operations such as environmental data collection and surveillance rely heavily on battery power, limiting useful life and increasing device recovery costs. Commonly used lithium batteries are expensive, hazardous to transport, and destructive to the environment when discarded, and therefore prevent important and valuable missions from being initiated. There are many use cases for Seatrec’s energy solutions in existing and developing markets. The market to power underwater drones is valued at $2.6B and expected to double by 2022 (DOE report, 2018). Other emerging and rapidly growing market opportunities include underwater acoustic communication, ocean observing, navigation and transportation, marine aquaculture, underwater mining, and community-scale isolated power systems.


Seatrec has developed a technology to convert clean and unlimited thermal energy associated with temperature differences in the ocean into electricity. This game-changing energy solution will enable underwater drones to operate permanently and indefinitely at greatly reduced cost. Seatrec is the only company positioned to commercialize two patents granted technology developed at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, through an exclusive license with Caltech. For low power systems, Seatrec will provide portable modules to replace battery at a single purchase price or lease contract price with 10X increase of lifetime. For the high power system, Seatrec will provide a power station where underwater systems can draw energy at a fixed price per KiloWattHour (kWh).

Awards and Recognition

Seatrec has been funded by two family foundations (i.e., Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs and Schmidt Family Foundation’s Schmidt Marine Technology Partners) and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from Department of Defense Navy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Seatrec has signed an exclusive license agreement with California Institute of Technology to commercialize the two patents granted technology developed at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Follow up patent has been submitted by Seatrec and is currently pending. The first product was released in 2018 and two purchase orders have been signed.

Yi Chao

Yi Chao