No phrase sums up 2021 better than CEO Patrick Sullivan’s Monday morning greeting, “Welcome to another action-packed week at Oceanit.”
2021 was truly 52 weeks of non-stop action at Oceanit. Perhaps even more than usual—and definitely in spite of the ongoing global pandemic. Our teams were firing on all cylinders, working across a range of disruptive ideas, programs, projects, and products.
In the past year, Oceanit grew, adding 21 new hires to the ʻOhana, and welcoming 2 new babies in our extended ‘Ohana. Oceanit’s Houston team doubled in size, adding critical new personnel to support pilot scale productions and field deployments for our technologies. The Houston team sits near a nexus of partners in sectors as diverse as energy, biomedical, aerospace, petrochemicals, and more.
Oceanit also opened a new office at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to aid ongoing projects with the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (HDOT) Airports Division. The team is hoping to expand our work with HDOT in 2022 as we partner to address the state’s aging infrastructure.
We were awarded more than 25 new projects from federal, state, and local clients and partners across a wide spectrum of disciplines including hydrogen fuel development, carbon sequestration, Artificial Intelligence, coastal engineering & sea level rise, and much more. The team also commercialized three new products, mind to market technologies born of the disruptive research and development that happens every day in our labs and scale-up workshops.
Oceanit’s SURF program launched new intern program partnerships with the Hawaii Department of Transportation, Highways Division, to utilize AI in improving safety along Farrington Highway, and began a partnership with the Hawaii State Public Library system to implement AI across the state’s libraries with the help of students from Hawaii Public Schools.
The SURF team also held 6 Altino Coding workshops for educators, continuing the work of spreading computer science to teachers and educators across the state. Oceanit participated in 5 Hawaii Book & Music Festival panels and presentations, and held 4 Design Thinking workshops, including the 10th annual Design Thinking Hawaii Bootcamp. Oceanit was also proud to launch an underwriting partnership with Hawaii Public Radio, supporting the National Public Radio Science Friday show.
Science & Technology Team
Throughout 2021, the ASSURE development team worked tirelessly on trialing and improving our rapid COVID-19 test, ASSURE-100, which was recently submitted to the U.S. FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA). The ASSURE-100 test is a simple, fast, accurate, and affordable Lateral Flow Assay (LFA) developed completely in Hawai’i. Even with the effectiveness and availability of COVID-19 vaccines, testing will remain vital to monitoring transmissibility of new variants
HeatX made huge progress in 2021, being deployed in multiple countries around the world. Our Advanced Materials team published the promising results of a pilot deployment in partnership with Italian energy company ENI, which analyzed HeatX’s efficacy at their refinery in northern Alaska. The results were debuted at ADIPEC event in Abu Dhabi this past November. Eni data showed that if applied facility-wide, savings in supplemental heating emissions would reducing carbon emissions by up to 17,000 tons annually in the pilot facility alone.
EverPel protecting community art
Oceanit worked with local artist Solomon Enos to apply Grafix to a community mural in Kaimuki. Grafix is a formulation of our EverPel coating, designed to make it easier to remove graffiti from treated surfaces. We hope this will be the first of many collaborations with Enos as he aims to create more community-owned art across the island.
Oceanit expanded our work in Computer Vision AI and Machine Learning, adding projects to utilize AI to examine plant roots for crop health and to analyze aviators’ vision and retinal health following laser exposure. Oceanit also completed a project with the Department of Homeland Security, ʻIoView, which is now moving towards commercialization. ʻIoView is a computer vision platform developed to process imagery in the wake of natural and man-made disasters and improve utility grid response times and recovery.
RiSE Engineering Consulting Team
HNL Airport Projects
Oceanit has been hard at work on several projects with the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, Airports Division. In 2021, the team completed a project to remove invasive mangroves from Keʻehi Lagoon, preventing potentially dangerous bird strikes to aircraft departing HNL. The invasive mangroves created unnatural bird habitats for a variety of species. Oceanit is currently working with the Daniel K. Inouye Airport on two additional projects to improve aging infrastructure at the airport—overseeing the replacement of old, asbestos-containing construction materials and designing a solution to water infiltration issues that have persistently flooded the airport basement where baggage is handled. To facilitate this work, the RiSE Team opened an on-site office at HNL as a forward HQ for the two projects.
Coastal Erosion & Shoreline Protection Projects
Sea level rise and the subsequent coastal erosion is fast becoming one of the most pressing issues for coastal communities, around the world.
In 2021, our RiSE team wrapped up a two-decade long shoreline resilience project at Mauna Lahilahi Beach Park, designing a breakwater to reduce wave energy, prevent erosion, and protect the Mākaha Surfside Apartments and beach park. For more than 50 years, the beach and shoreline at Mauna Lahilahi Beach Park in Wai’anae, had been eroding due to sea level rise. All of the beach sand and some of the back shore substrate were lost along a 350-foot shoreline cove during the previous decades. The final revetment and greenway worked on by Oceanit reconnected the beach park into a single, traversable park once more.
The team also completed work on the Queen’s Beach Seawall in Waikiki, engineering not just to protect structural integrity but also to preserve the historic wall. The wall sits between Kapahulu Avenue and the War Memorial Natatorium, running along the shoreline paralleling Kalakaua Avenue. Oceanit provided planning, design, permitting, and post-design services for this historic Waikiki seawall section, which is approximately 500-foot-long and was severely eroded.
Mind to Market Commercialization
Blast Ninja Quiet Blasting Nozzles
Oceanit’s quiet blast nozzle, Blast Ninja, went into production in early 2021, and the team has seen great success, with orders shipping around the world. Our engineers leveraged years of aero-acoustic research for jet engine noise reduction to design an abrasive blast nozzle that reduces nozzle air exit velocity while maintaining particle velocity, thereby reducing noise at the source, yet maintaining blasting production.
The Blast Ninja Quiet Nozzle reduces sound energy produced by 50% or more versus regular nozzles. Originally developed with the US Navy, Blast Ninja is quickly becoming a new industry standard.
Continuing to push the boundaries on industries that can benefit from our nanocomposite surface treatments, AeroPel Nanocomposite Protective Layer (NPL) was commercialized in 2021. Oceanit applied AeroPel to helicopter rotors to see whether it could prevent blade erosion and reduce the need for repainting. More pilot deployments are in store in the near future for the family of AeroPel variants that the team is developing.
19°N Honu Cooling Pack
Adapting a wearable cooling technology that we originally developed for the Navy, the Commercialization Team successfully ran a Kickstarter campaign for a cooling vest redesigned for outdoor recreation users. The Honu Cooling Pack was launched under the brand name 19°N and marks our first steps into the general consumer sphere. The new outdoor gear brand will be shipping our first units to customers in 2022 and the team couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead!