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The Ocean Farmer: Nelson Vadassery Nelson Vadassery started Seas6 Energy in 2010 along with Sri Sailaja Nori and Sowmya Balendiran under the expertise of Shrikumar Suryanarayan on the IIT Madras campus

By Paromita Gupta

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Entrepreneur India
Nelson Vadassery 34 Co-Founder and CTO, Sea6 Energy

India is the world's third largest importer of crude oil. It meets a staggering 82% of its oil needs through imports. Such high reliance on imports has been inflating India's crude import bill for years and widening the trade deficit. One way for reducing the country's dependence on crude oil is to produce biofuel, like seaweed. This problem can be solved if India produces enough seaweed (macro-algae) around its coastline to make the required biomass.

Realizing this, Nelson Vadassery started Seas6 Energy in 2010 along with Sri Sailaja Nori and Sowmya Balendiran under the expertise of Shrikumar Suryanarayan, the then President of Research and Development at Biocon. Incubated on the IIT Madras campus, Sea6 aims to produce a carbon-neutral replacement for fossil fuels. To solve India's dependency on crude oil, seaweed needs to be converted to biofuel. For that, it needs to be produced at a very low price and large scale, and this is where ocean farming comes into the picture. "We discovered that agriculture in the oceans was very much possible, but the technology involved in doing so was quite underdeveloped. We saw an opportunity to make a difference there," says Vadassery.

The startup has developed technology which allows its devices to reach the deep waters for seaweed and helps it convert it into commercial- use products such as plant biotimulants, plant health stimulants, gelling agents, and biodegradable sheets. Its flagship product, AgroGain, is a patented biostimulant product which improves crop yields and reduces usage of fertilizers. Sea6 largely depends on sourced seaweed (automated, manual, and farm purchase).

Its seaweed production systems are currently under development and they plan to start production on a large scale this year by setting up 1 square kilometer of automated seaweed farms. Its mechanized ocean farming system facilitates harvesting and seeding of seaweed which can be farmed anywhere in the ocean.

Headquartered in Bangalore, the company has raised over $27.4M over 13 years with $18.5M in 2022 itself. Apart from providing its services and products in over 20 countries, the year saw the startup make farming advancements and develop new products for agriculture and animal feed. Vadassery shared that the company was now going to develop seaweed derived plastic replacements.

Factsheet:

No. Of Co-Founders: 4

No. Of Employees: 100+

Year Of Inception: 2010

Investors: Tata Capital Innovations Fund; Aquaspark; Silverstrand Capital; BASF

Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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