B.C. adventurer looks to protect oceans with technology

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Adventurer looks to protect oceans with technology
She's accomplished a number of amazing feats in her life, not the least of which was rowing across the Atlantic. But B.C.'s Julie Angus has taken on a new challenge, helping protect our oceans. As Kylie Stanton reports, the Vancouver Island resident hopes to do this through cutting-edge technology – Nov 8, 2018

The first woman to ever row across the Atlantic from mainland to mainland is now developing cutting-edge technology to help protect the world’s oceans.

From her small backyard workshop, Julie Angus is in the process of designing autonomous boats that harvest energy and collect information in real time.

“Basically, any information you need from the ocean, these boats may have the potential to collect it,” said Angus.

She and her husband, Colin began considering the value of this during their 156-day Atlantic odyssey.

The idea is to use the boats to gain insight into everything from tsunamis and earthquakes to the state of sea life.

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“It’s never been done before,” said Angus. “So, it’s something we wanted to challenge ourselves to try and do.”

From there, Open Ocean Robotics was born, but moving forward required funding.

Angus decided to enter the Women in Cleantech Challenge.

Angus was one of 147 applicants. After an interview and a pitch presentation, she was chosen as a finalist with a shot at the $800,000 prize.

“It was very exciting,” said Angus.

Her husband Colin adds, “We get so much support and it gives your company the validation it needs to go forth and get funding from other sources.”

Over the next 30 months, the pair plan to complete a working prototype and begin selling their product. At the same time, they will try to continue to impress the judges.

“In two-and-a-half years they will choose a winner, and that person will receive a million dollars to go towards their company.”

That prize could help accelerate the growth of the company and the timeline of developing a fleet of the autonomous boats.

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Still, win or lose, getting to this pint is being considered a massive victory. Just the beginning of another adventure.

“It’s already made a huge difference,” said Angus. “It will continue to do so.”

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