Minimum plume generation and minimum sediment disturbance are key to obtain environmentally acceptable collection method for polymetallic nodules from the seabed.
Loke has just completed the first set of testing of nodule collector concepts where nodules are collected mechanically for minimum sediment disturbance. Four different collection principles have been tested in lab conditions with artificial seabed and nodules with the correct properties.
The most promising concept from these tests gave repeatedly 100% collection efficiency with absolute minimum interference with the seabed.
With this concept, the sediment volume to be removed from the seabed can be reduced with over 90% compared with conventional hydraulic collection heads.
This also implies that the plume generated at the collection head is minimized, and no return sediment plume after de-watering on the production vessel will be generated.
“This is an important milestone for us, and we are now progressing to the next phase of the prototype development” says Tore Halvorsen – CTO Loke.