Five teams advance to Hawaii for final stage of $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

Global Competition to Revolutionize Ocean pH Sensor Technology Heads to the Pacific Ocean for Deep Sea Testing

Los Angeles (April 28, 2015) XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competition, today announced 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.

Beginning on May 14 in Honolulu, teams will board the R/V Kilo Moana, a research vessel owned by the U.S. Navy and operated through UNOLS by the University of Hawaii Marine Center, and 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 utilized by the entire industry.”

The five finalist teams representing four countries 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.
  • 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).
  • Sunburst Sensors (Missoula, Mont., U.S.), a team of mechanical engineers from Sunburst Sensors, LLC, a company focused on the development of chemical sensors for marine and freshwater applications.
  • Team Durafet (Plymouth, Minn., U.S.), 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.
  • Team XYLEM (Bergen, Norway/Beverly, Mass., U.S.), a team representing two Xylem companies, Aanderaa Data Instruments in Norway and YSI in the U.S., 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


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

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.J. in Journalism from he University of California, 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, XPRIZE Foundation, The 1851 Trust, Grist and MAIYET.

XPRIZE, 28 April 2015. Press release.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: