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Competition Looks for Best pH Sensor for Measuring Ocean Acidification

Health Sustainability Economics +2 more

GLOBAL - The Five finalist teams competing for the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a global competition to create pH sensor technology that will accurately measure ocean acidification, have been announced.

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Beginning on May 14 in Honolulu, Hawaii, teams will board the R/V Kilo Moana to embark on a week-long deep sea trial to assess ocean pH values throughout the water column at Station ALOHA, a 110 square mile region in the Pacific Ocean, located approximately 100 miles off the northern shore of Oahu.

During this six-day period, sensors will be put through rigorous performance tests focused on stability and precision, while battling real-world pressure scenarios and depths of up to 3,000 meters.

“Station ALOHA has a long history of oceanographic significance and has been a key site for studying the changing chemistry of the North Pacific Ocean, so it is a perfect location to serve as the final stage for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE,” said Paul Bunje, senior director of oceans at XPRIZE.

“The sensors developed by our five finalist teams represent tremendous innovations that will not only help us better understand the threat of ocean acidification, but throughout these final deep sea trials, they’ll also collect valuable scientific measurements in the process, adding to a historic data set that can be used by the entire industry."

The five finalist teams representing four countries are:

  1. ANB Sensors (Cambridge, England), a team of scientists and researchers from the Schlumberger Gould Research Center with expertise in lasers, chemistry, fluid mechanics and geophysics.

  2. HpHS (Yokosuka, Japan), a team of research scientists and engineers from the Kimoto Electric Co., Ltd. and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

  3. Sunburst Sensors (Missoula, Mont., US), a team of mechanical engineers from Sunburst Sensors, LLC, a company focused on the development of chemical sensors for marine and freshwater applications.

  4. Team Durafet (Plymouth, Minn., US), a team comprised of representatives from Sea-Bird Scientific, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego and Honeywell Aerospace Advanced Technology group.

  5. Team XYLEM (Bergen, Norway/Beverly, Mass., US), a team representing two Xylem companies, Aanderaa Data Instruments in Norway and YSI in the US, with extensive work in commercializing high performance and reliable optical chemical sensors used in oceanography.

To reach this point, teams had to successfully put their sensors through a three-month test in controlled laboratory conditions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute last fall, followed by a month-long performance test in a coastal environment at the Seattle Aquarium this past February. The winners of the competition are scheduled to be announced in July 2015.

Teams participating in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE may compete for two available prize purses: the $1M accuracy purse, based on performance, and the $1M affordability purse, based on cost and usability.

For more information about each team, visit

For more information on the competition, visit

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