Zachy Hennessey
June 5

Like a high tide, World Ocean Day on June 8 reminds us of what an incredible force of nature the ocean is.

The ocean, a veritable Atlas, holds an enormous burden on its shoulders: Besides acting as an enormous heatsink for the planet, the big wet body produces around half of the world’s oxygen (which I would rank as one of the top breathable gases) and absorbs about a quarter of its carbon dioxide emissions (which I would not rank highly on the list of top breathable gases).

Despite these vital functions, increasing greenhouse gas emissions have reduced the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, diminishing the protective role it plays against climate change

On top of that, the rise of microplastics and environmental hazards like oil spills pose constant threats to marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

In order to help the ocean along with its task of saving Earth’s inhabitants from a gradual boiling demise, dozens of Israeli startups are developing technologies and businesses centered on using the ocean to combat climate change and pollution.

Photo by Nabil Refaat via Shutterstock.com
Photo by Nabil Refaat via Shutterstock.com

“The ocean’s immense value to our world demands our unwavering commitment. Israel’s high-tech ecosystem, combined with our cutting-edge biotechnology and AI talents, is at the forefront of creating revolutionary solutions to purify our oceans and secure their health for future generations,” says Alon Turkaspa, Startup Nation Central’s Agri‑food‑climate Sector lead.

Aquaculture and ocean agriculture represent the next frontier for Israel’s agri-food tech sector,” he adds. “As a leader in high-tech innovation, Israel has the unique opportunity to drive global advancements in this field, securing our position in the emerging blue economy and bolstering our national economy.”

With that in mind, fasten your life jacket and prepare your favorite sea shanties — here are seven Israeli startups focused on healthier oceans for a cleaner, healthier planet:

Gigablue

Founded: 2022  

Based in: Caesarea

Believe it or not, the ocean does the planet an incredible service by scrubbing excess CO2 from Earth’s atmosphere. 

While it’s doing a great job of that on its own, Gigablue is dedicated to helping the ocean along in its task, using advanced AI and scientific methods to facilitate large-scale carbon capture and removal.

By imitating Earth’s natural carbon sequestration methods, as well as enhancing the growth of phytoplankton — one of the foremost CO2 absorbers in the deep blue sea — Gigablue aims to help organizations achieve negative emission targets.

CarbonBlue

Founded: 2022  

Based in: Tel Aviv

Similar to Gigablue, CarbonBlue specializes in technology aiming to enlist the ocean’s inhabitants to rid the atmosphere of CO2 — in this case, utilizing the natural properties of seawater to separate and mineralize dissolved carbon dioxide. 

The technology can work alone and in conjunction with industrial water-based infrastructures like desalination plants.

By the power of chemistry, the company uses calcium to mineralize and remove CO2 from seawater. From there, the calcium can be returned to the sea and the CO2 can be locked away in Davy Jones’ Locker (read: sequestered and traded for carbon credits).

BlueGreen Water Technologies

Founded: 2014  

Based in: Modi’in and Miami

In what is essentially the opposite of a British Petroleum oil rig, BlueGreen Water Technologies cleans bodies of water and reverses climate change’s effect on them.

Its technology targets harmful algal blooms and reduces CO2 and methane emissions. Using the modern magical duo of AI and data science, BlueGreen neutralizes harmful algae and sequesters the carbon it carries, better enabling the ocean to soak up even more carbon dioxide.

The company’s efforts have already removed over three million tons of carbon from global waters and leaves no residue or footprint behind.

HARBO Technologies

Founded: 2013  

Based in: Tel Aviv

Speaking of BP: if you were alive in 2010, you’ve seen enough pictures of greasy black seagulls to know that ocean oil spills are no laughing matter.

In order to prevent such climate catastrophes, HARBO Technologies has created an immediate containment system for marine oil spills, known as the T-Fence.

Harbo Technologies’ T-Fence containment system for marine oil spills. Photo by Doron Heller courtesy of Israel Innovation Authority
Harbo Technologies’ T-Fence containment system for marine oil spills. Photo by Doron Heller courtesy of Israel Innovation Authority

This system can be deployed within minutes, significantly reducing the amount of damage that oil spills cause to the environment. The technology is versatile enough that it can be installed on ships, ports and oil rigs, and can deploy 2,000 yards of boom in under 30 minutes — hopefully fast enough to get a handle on things before the perilous petroleum can pique a pesky pelican’s interest.

My Ocean Twin

Founded: 2022  

Based in: Israel

This may surprise you, but you can’t remove plastic waste from a human being by creating a digital twin of their body and selling NFTs that represent its various parts. As it turns out, though, you CAN do that with the ocean. Yay!

My Ocean Twin combats ocean plastic waste by creating a digital twin of the ocean and dividing the ocean into geolocated plots represented as NFTs. Proceeds from the sale of these NFTs fund nonprofit organizations dedicated to removing plastic waste, an approach that allows individuals to contribute to ocean conservation efforts without even having to get wet.

Pure Blue Fish

Founded: 2016  

Based in: Binyamina-Giv’at Ada

Pure Blue Fish develops fish-farm water recirculation technology to reduce overfishing and pollution in oceans. Located inland, disconnected from any water source, its closed-loop water circulation system puts no wastewater in the environment.

Its zero-water discharge Recirculating Aquaculture System treats fish-farm water with microbial biotechnology, producing nutritious, traceable fish which are free of heavy metals and microplastics.

While I’m sure the fish in the farms aren’t too thrilled about their role in this climate solution, their off-the-pier peers are certain to swim at ease knowing there’s one less reason for them to go extinct.

Eco Wave Power

Founded: 2011  

Based in: Tel Aviv

If you see the ocean as a lazy mooch skating by on its natural good looks and its ability to passively slurp up some harmful emissions here and there, then you might be on board with Eco Wave Power’s mission statement.

The company has developed wave energy conversion systems that put the big blue bozo to work, generating electricity from ocean waves. Its floating platforms harness wave motion to drive hydraulic pumps, which generate renewable energy.

The company is truly the poster child of Israel’s ocean-oriented startup scene, and has been recognized both locally (by Israel’s Ministry of Energy and the Solar Impulse Foundation) and internationally (having won a United Nations Global Climate Action Award).

On top of all of that, the company’s CEO, Inna Braverman — who, by the way, was brought back to life after briefly dying as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion — was prominently featured in ISRAEL21c’s The 48 list last year.

Photo by PANG WRP via Shutterstock.com
Photo by PANG WRP via Shutterstock.com

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