BJARKE Ingels Group (BIG), the acclaimed architecture firm behind Virgin’s Hyperloop Passenger Pods, VIA 57 West, and The O-Tower, has collaborated with The Metals Company, a deep sea mining operator, to design underwater robots that will collect critical battery metals from the sea floor.
The studio has also designed a waste-free metals processing and recycling plant and carbon-neutral vessels, both of which will work in conjunction with the robots.
The Metals Company sources these metals 4000-metres deep in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean where a large concentration of polymetallic nodules has been naturally forming on the seabed for millions of years.
BIG has designed a circular supply chain for these battery metals, starting with a purpose-built 216-metre-long production vessel that will transfer the nodules into a shuttle carrier, then to a metallurgical plant.
“To collect the nodules, we have designed a light-touch, robotic collector vehicle that aims a jet of seawater across the tops of the rocks to gently pry them from the sediment,” partner at BIG and partner in charge of the collaboration with The Metals Company Daniel Sundlin said in a press release.