This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 22, 2008

Opportunities in Oceans

Special thanks to Dr. John Palmisano, a marine biologist and frequent lecturer on the cruise ships of Holland America for the material in this Herman Trend Alert. This alert reflects Palmisano's beliefs and opinions. (The forecasts are ours.) For more information, contact him at

Oceans cover over 70 percent of the surface of planet earth. Minerals and other natural resources abound there. Every element is water soluble, so the oceans have literally tons of minerals. However, so far, it's dangerous and economically not feasible to mine the oceans. One exception is krill and the product Neptune Krill Oil, proven to reduce cholesterol:

Moreover, there are remarkable opportunities for energy generation. We have just begun to harness the power of the ocean winds with giant off-shore turbines; we have yet to begin capturing the tremendous energy of the tides.

One of the problems is that most of the major countries of the world can not afford to mine the oceans. "Oceans are almost as bad as space, when it come to the expense of working there", said Palmisano. In fact, the Russians have converted Antarctic research vessels into cruise ships, because there is much more money in tourism than research. Oceanographic research is expensive; governments would rather spend the money on other things.

There are substantial career opportunities in the field of Ocean Engineering. Not only do we need people who can help us mine ocean minerals, but we also need extra help to build in oceans, because salt water is so corrosive. Part of the challenge is that many students are not choosing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects. Thus, not only do they not have the background to study engineering, but they do not even understand the value of making these investments.

Another related field that will grow in importance is desalination, extracting drinkable water from salt water. This process is very expensive. Generally, water is more reasonable to buy than to separate, but in some places in the world, like Israel, there is no choice.

Our forecast is that with droughts due to dry weather and water tables dropping due to population shifts, desalination will become increasingly cost effective. This shift will create a variety of jobs. We also believe that advances in technology, coupled with the need for alternative energy will soon make mining oceans for minerals and energy more feasible.

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