XPRIZE sets its sight below the ocean
There were commercial space flights, more efficient cars, moon rovers and now the latest XPRIZE competition is targeting ocean health. Researchers and entrepreneurs are challenged by a $2 million prize and the goal to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors.
National Geographic posted news about this story along with this statement by an XPRIZE spokesperson:
On the heels of the successful Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE aims to spur global innovators to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors that will ultimately transform our understanding of ocean acidification, one of the gravest problems associated with the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).
Through this competition, brilliant innovators will improve our knowledge about ocean chemistry and of the ocean’s health, break through current limitations to stimulate investments in research and sensor technology, and propel the creation of new tools in the ocean services industry.
Being in this hobby, we understand the delicate chemical balance of our oceans and how increased acidification has detrimental effects on ocean inhabitants. Our oceans take in about 25 percent of all the CO2 released by humans and this is creating havoc on the seas.
XPRIZE realizes that the current ocean pH sensors available are expensive, prohibiting widespread use of these to track oceanic acidity. By dangling the $2 million carrot, entrepreneurial researchers have plenty of reasons to develop a cost-effect solution.
“Just as we have sensors to monitor our body’s vital signs, we need a device to help determine the acidity of our oceans before we can determine the best solution to improve its health,” Paul Bunje, senior director of the Oceans XPRIZE, said in a statement.
“To accomplish this, we hope to incent innovators around the world, across disciplines, to compete for this prize not only for the ecological benefits, but for the market potential worth far more than the prize purse itself,” he said.