The British company DEEP is planning an underwater station that will be made primarily from metal using 3D printing. The modular facility, called “Sentinel,” is designed for diving depths of up to 200 meters, providing permanent access for the first time to the so-called light-flooded ocean zone, where 90 percent of marine life exists.
According to DEEP, understanding and exploring the oceans is essential to preserving marine ecosystems. Until now, however, the possibilities for long-term exploration at corresponding depths have been limited, he said. This is where the company comes in with the high-tech habitat.
The pressure chambers for the underwater dwelling, which will last up to 28 days, are to be created using the special 3D printing process “Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing” (WAAM). In this process, metal wires are melted by electric arcs and deposited layer by layer. According to DEEP, these are the world’s first submersible nacelles made in this way that are approved for human use.
In addition to the station, called Sentinel, DEEP is also developing submersible vehicles and research equipment. In the long term, the company also plans to establish a test center for underwater R&D and training programs. The innovative 3D printing processes will help to better understand the seabed and contribute to ocean protection.