14 teams advance to Seattle Aquarium in pursuit of $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competition, today announced the 14 teams moving forward in the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a global competition to create pH sensor technology that will accurately measure ocean acidification. Beginning this week, each team will submit their sensor for a month-long performance test in a coastal environment at the Seattle Aquarium, focused on affordability, precision and stability. Each device will need to produce multiple measurements over the course of a 30-day period to assess known pH readings.

“As we embark on Puget Sound, it’s exciting to see such a wide range of teams still in the hunt. From high school students and surfers to start-ups and established marine professionals, they all still have a chance to win,” said Paul Bunje, senior director of oceans at XPRIZE. “The state of Washington has been a national leader in the science of understanding ocean acidification so we are thrilled to partner with the Seattle Aquarium and look forward to working in tandem to help shine a light on this important issue as we move on to the next phase of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.”

To reach this point, teams had to successfully put their sensors through a rigorous three-month test in controlled laboratory conditions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute this past fall. The top submissions will advance to deep-sea trials in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii that will put devices through real-world depth and pressure scenarios, slated to take place in May 2015. The winners of the competition will then 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.

The 14 teams moving forward in the competition are:

  • 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.
  • Blue Devil Ocean Engineering (Beaufort, N.C.), a team of Duke University faculty and students from the Pratt School of Engineering and the Nicholas School of the Environment.
  • Cross Strait Team (Hangzhou, China), a team of chemists, oceanographers and engineers from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou Dianzi University and National Sun Yat-sen University.
  • HpHS (Yokosuka, Japan), a team of research scientists and engineers from the Kimoto Electric Co., Ltd. and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.
  • National Oceanography Center UK (Southampton, England), a team of scientists and engineers from the National Oceanography Centre, a leading marine science research and technology institution.
  • Optode Team Austria (Graz, Austria), a team comprised of students and scientists from the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food Chemistry at the Graz University of Technology.
  • OSU FABE Sastry lab (Columbus, Ohio), a team of scientists and engineers from Ohio State University’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
  • pHFine Scale (Seaside, Calif.), a team of teenagers and young adults with expertise in designing and manufacturing pH instruments used off the coast of Australia at the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Smartphin (San Diego, Calif.), a team from an engineering consultancy for research and development in the surf industry.
  • Sunburst Sensors (Missoula, Mont.), a team from a company focused on the development of chemical sensors for marine and freshwater applications.
  • Team Durafet (Plymouth, Minn.), a team comprised of representatives from Sea-Bird Scientific, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and Honeywell Aerospace’s Advanced Technology group.
  • TEAM SEAS (St. Petersburg, Fla.), a team of scientists and engineers from SRI International, the University of South Florida and the Battelle Memorial Institute.
  • Team SINDEN (Fukuoka, Japan), a team of faculty, scientists and engineers from Kyushu University’s International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, the Kyushu Institute of Technology, the University of Tokyo and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.
  • Team XYLEM (Beverly, Mass.), a team representing two Xylem companies, Aanderaa Data Instruments in Norway and YSI out of Ohio, with extensive work in commercializing high performance and reliable optical chemical sensors used in oceanography.

For more information about each team, visit http://oceanhealth.xprize.org/teams.


Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.

About Wendy Schmidt

Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, which strives to advance the development of clean energy and support the wiser use of natural resources. She also is founder of the foundation’s grant-making arm, The 11th Hour Project, and Climate Central, an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the American public. With her husband, Eric Schmidt, Wendy created the Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009, which provides opportunities for urgent ocean studies aboard the RV Falkor oceanographic research vessel. Her work at non-profit ReMain Nantucket focuses on generating a model for smart community downtown development on the island, where her family spends summers. Wendy earned an M.A. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College. She serves on the boards of The Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate Central, The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, The Trust for Governors Island, The XPRIZE Foundation, The 1851 Trust, Grist and MAIYET.


Eric Desatnik / Blaec Kalweit
310-741-4892 / 212-691-2800
eric(at)xprize.org / kalweit(at)sunshinesachs.com

Business Wire, 18 February 2015. Article.

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