Kongsberg USV to minimize Aker BioMarine’s carbon footprint

The USV is also equipped to collect valuable scientific data.

Kongsberg USV to minimize Aker BioMarine’s carbon footprint
Photo: Kongsberg

Aker BioMarine has ordered a new Sounder USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) from Kongsberg Maritime to further reduce their carbon footprint and optimize krill harvesting in Antarctica. 

Sustainable use of the ocean and marine resources is a key part of Aker BioMarine’s strategy. To achieve this, the company has invested heavily in technology that contributes to more sustainable fishery and fishery management. In order to collect detailed data on the krill biomass, Aker BioMarine launched an unmanned solar-powered ocean data drone (Sailbuoy) early in 2020. Now the company has made another important investment, buying a specially designed USV from Kongsberg Maritime.

Unmanned maritime systems are evolving rapidly, and Kongsberg Maritime has a history of making world-leading products for the hydrographic and subsea positioning industries. The company supplies more multibeam sonars, positioning and fishery systems to the offshore market than any other manufacturer. The new agreement with Aker BioMarine will give the biotech and krill harvesting company an even greater scientific edge for their operations in Antarctica.

Frank Grebstad, SVP Vessel Operations at Aker BioMarine, says:

“With this USV we will further reduce our fuel consumption when looking for krill. Data from the USV will help our vessels navigate more efficiently, and thereby help minimize our CO2 footprint. We chose Kongsberg Maritime because of their experience and technical expertise, and this USV represents a versatile and reliable platform to help us reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

As part of the agreement between Kongsberg Maritime and Aker BioMarine, the companies will co-operate to further develop the USV, together with scientific advice from REV Ocean, a not-for-profit company with a mission to make the ocean healthy again. REV Ocean gives scientific and technical advice into the project and looks for novel ways to better utilize the data from the USV in large international science programs and projects.

Nina Jensen, CEO of REV Ocean, says:

“This new agreement with Aker BioMarine is very exciting. The ability to collect precise data effectively from the ocean is important to make fisheries more sustainable. Further developing and advancing this technology will be invaluable in making the job of scientists easier.”

About the Sounder USV:

  • The Sounder USV is designed for optimal performance of hydroacoustic sensors and systems.
  • It is built around a robust 8-meter vessel hull, developed in cooperation with Viking Norsafe A
  • The USV can be remotely controlled from a shore station or mothership through Kongsberg Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR), or from further afield via satellite communications. Additionally, situation awareness sensors – such as RADAR and various camera systems – facilitate advanced mission autonomy.
  • Systems from Kongsberg Maritime’s range of sensors for hydroacoustic mapping, positioning, communication, fish finding, and oceanographic research are integrated into the USV.
  • The system configuration for this USV will help Aker BioMarine collect data for their fishery needs, but it can also collect data for scientific purposes.

Atle Gran, Area Sales Manager, Marine Robotics at Kongsberg Maritime, says:

“We´re proud to announce this contract and believe that our cooperation with Aker BioMarine has the potential to help the company substantially in their hunt to further reduce their carbon footprint. KONGSBERG is committed to sustainability and firmly believes that autonomous solutions such as our USVs and AUVs are key to greener maritime operations, and in helping us to learn more about the marine environment and how to interact with it in the least invasive way possible.”