PRESS RELEASE | Oceanit Receives U.S. Department of Energy Award to Develop AI for Plant Root Health and Novel Decarbonization Effort

Press Release
GROOT US Department of Energy Oceanit project aware

Honolulu HI | 28 June 2021 – Oceanit was recently awarded $1.6 million by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to continue development of novel decarbonization technologies at the intersection of plant physiology, soil chemistry, artificial intelligence, and bio-mimicry.

Oceanit’s program is referred to internally as, GROOT (Greenhouse Recapture Observation and Optimization Technology).

GROOT is seen as a platform capability in-progress, with current work being focused on a project called ‘Rhizomatic’. The project crosses AI with subsurface cameras to analyze imagery from deployed subsoil sensors to measure and map the complexity and robustness of plant root systems, and in turn, measure a plant’s health, potential yield, and ability to capture and sequester carbon.

GROOT enables faster, cheaper, and more accurate mapping of root systems, a complex task that has until now been done by manually analyzing individual root pictures. If successful, GROOT could enable new data-driven business models and practices whereby farms could produce traditional crops and products, while generating carbon products needed to serve the growing appetite for accountable industrial decarbonization credits that enable global energy transformation.

The award is a part of the DOE’s Office of Science program that furthers promising, innovation technologies from early R&D to commercialization stages. The U.S. has more than 9 million acres of farmland that can be integrated into decarbonization strategies whereby plants can be grown for food while simultaneously removing carbon.  Currently, plant root physiology analysis is a labor-intensive process, making it cost- and time-prohibitive and unavailable for most agricultural or horticultural practices.  Oceanit expects GROOT to eventually open global markets for agricultural, horticultural, or other plant-based products that will eventually convey an auditable  carbon credit, fundamentally changing the economics of farming by adding a carbon economics to farmed products – rejiggering economic incentives.

GROOT utilizes minirhizotron camera imagery combined with advanced AI analysis to vastly improve efficiency in the study of roots. The data captured by deployed sensors and stored in the CLOUD will play a critical role in improving crops to address food security while decarbonizing our planet.

The DOE award furthers Oceanit’s overall strategy to address difficult global climate challenges with fundamental science and technology. “To be effective, we had to step way back and take a broad and fundamental look at the energy industry,” said Oceanit Founder and CEO, Dr. Patrick Sullivan.  Energy transformation requires a comprehensive strategy that recognizes the reality of current business practices and interests. Bankable decarbonization enables current industrial enterprises a glide path to net zero energy by acquiring carbon credits while they wean themselves from petroleum.   With this in mind, we set out developing technology strategies that address these functional energy business elements – enabling businesses to operate and deliver energy the world needs and expects, while reducing climate impact to humans and society.”

Oceanit is a ‘Mind to Market’ company that employs a unique discipline to move fundamental scientific breakthroughs from the lab to the market. Oceanit is based in Honolulu, Hawaii but has offices and staff in Texas, California, Illinois, and Washington, DC.  Oceanit’s unique approach to disruptive innovation is featured in a book by Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Intellectual Anarchy – The Art of Disruptive Innovation, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other outlets.