South Florida Intercoastal

Not Only For Vessels: Fort Lauderdale Boat Show Connects Environmental Entrepreneurs With Funders

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Nov 15, 2019 Fri

WLRN Miami/South Florida


Inside of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is a movement to connect environmental entrepreneurs with philanthropists who love to boat and are passionate about ocean health. 

The Marine Research Hub of South Florida meets at the boat show every year. This year, the hub brought the Ocean Exchange event to Fort Lauderdale for the first time. Together, the collaborative groups awarded money to companies that are working with carbon waste and developing more efficient batteries that could be used in marine vehicles. 

"We believe that many solutions exist. They not only need money - they need early adopters, they need access to specialized testing equipment, they need a lot of help," Millicent Pitts said, Ocean Exchange's executive director. "And that's what we do: We find, fund and foster these startups," she said. 

One of the two companies to win $100,00 this year is called Opus 12 and it's based out of Berkley, California. 

Nicholas Flanders, co-founder and CEO of Opus 12, says they specialize in "industrial photosynthesis." 

"It's a chemical process that breaks apart CO2 and water, and then our technology can recombine the bits to make new products that are usually made from fossil fuels," Flanders said.

He also said he plans to use the award money to scale up the company by purchasing a larger robot for its core technology.

To listen to the audio version of this story, visit WLRN.