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Tim Hulsen

Hatch Program 2

31 Jan 2022

Tim Hulsen


Tim is an aspiring entrepreneur from Queensland with a Ph.D. in Environmental Biotechnology and is currently working at the University of Queensland.

Tim and his team have developed an innovative, automated technology to stop biofouling in aquaculture systems. The technology addresses a cost-intensive biofouling problem on tanks (e.g. Aquaria), cages, and netting commonly used in the fish farming industry. The invention enables regular, automated, low-cost, in-water cleaning of nets and cages, which minimises micro-fouling and is critical in preventing the build-up of macro-fouling.

Validating the idea

Coming into the Hatch Program, Tim knew that there was a problem to be solved through research and talking with industry connections. After learning specific interviewing techniques during the Hatch Program, he was able to garner much more detail about the problem and current cleaning solutions from his interviewees. This resulted in important insight into costs associated with current cleaning methods and secondary effects of methods such as pollution, fish stress and health impacts.

His interviews validated the need for an automated solution for biofouling, not only for cages and netting used in the fish farming industry, but for tanks of all sizes from land farms to large-scale aquarium tanks, such as those found at SeaLife on the Sunshine Coast. SeaLife currently employ divers 5 days a week for 5 hours a day to clean tanks with brushes and underwater scrubbers. There is no automated system solution available to prevent the biofouling build up.

This program was great to validate my business idea. The best thing is that the concepts and frameworks I learned and applied during this course are universal and can be applied to every business idea.

What's next

Tim has been accepted into the Hone program where he will work on:

- Building a small prototype and test operate it in a warehouse fish farm
- Sign an NDA with CSIRO and work on building a bigger prototype to operate at the CSIRO aquaculture facility
- Apply for provisional patent
- Keep SeaLife up to date with prototype testing
- Learn more about finance options
- Set up a solid business structure

Program Partners

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