Inch by inch, Jacky Im’s robot climbs a 10-meter steel wall while he watches closely. Each of the 300-kilogram machine’s moves is captured by sensors and compared to a pre-programmed route. Im is so stringent about his robot’s obedience that he wants to catch every wrong turn, even those that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

He’s not a control freak for fun, though. Im is co-founder of Hong Kong-based Neptune Robotics, a 6-year-old startup that deploys waterproof robots to tackle a major challenge facing the maritime industry: decarbonization.

Maritime shipping emits roughly 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year — more than Germany, France and Ireland combined. The industry is responsible for about 10% of transportation-related emissions, and as global trade grows that climate toll is expected to grow with it. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations body that regulates shipping, predicts emissions from ships will climb 50% above 2018 levels by mid-century.