NOC Takes Ocean Sensor to the World Stage
- From left to right: Greg Slavik, Martin Arundell, Jim Wyatt, Kevin Saw, Socratis Loucaides, Tianya Yin and Chris Cardwell From left to right: Greg Slavik, Martin Arundell, Jim Wyatt, Kevin Saw, Socratis Loucaides, Tianya Yin and Chris Cardwell
- Chris Cardwell with the sensor Chris Cardwell with the sensor
- Martin Arundell with the sensor Martin Arundell with the sensor
A team of scientists and engineers from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is heading to the U.S. to take part in a high-profile international competition to develop pH sensors to measure changes in the acidity of the ocean.
NOC is one of only two organizations representing the U.K. in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, which is offering a total prize fund of $2 million for the development of accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors to improve our understanding of ocean acidification.
The four-phase competition has attracted major players from the scientific community around the world and there are 23 organizations taking part. The NOC team has successfully passed Phase 1 and are travelling to California this month for Phase 2, which involves testing the sensor in a lab.
The pH sensor NOC has entered into the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE competition is small in size and is based on a microfluidic design, which requires very small volumes of seawater to generate a reading. It is also being designed as an autonomous system able to operate on a number of oceanographic platforms and down to depths of several thousand meters.
Team leader, Dr Socratis Loucaides, said, “We are very proud of the new technology we are developing at NOC and are pleased to be taking part in this high-profile international competition. Our team of designers, engineers and scientists [has] worked incredibly hard over the past few years to develop this innovative sensor, which can accurately detect very small changes in ocean acidity, offering greater understanding of the changes that are taking place.”
The aim of the competition is to develop equipment that can detect small changes in ocean acidity over time caused by atmospheric CO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels. The sensors are being judged on a series of criteria including accuracy, precision, ease-of-use and affordability.
Following the lab testing phase in September, successful teams will take part in coastal and ocean trials, with the final awards ceremony taking place next July.