Rising levels of CO2 emissions are increasing the acidity of our oceans, which is not good news for our marine life, coral and us. Improving our understanding of ocean acidification is imperative if we want to address this looming crisis. At the moment, little is known about ocean acidification in high latitudes, coastal areas and the deep sea and the current pH sensor technology is too costly, imprecise or unstable to allow for sufficient knowledge on the state of ocean acidification. To fully understand and adapt to the threat of ocean acidification, better pH sensing systems to monitor and collect ocean pH data are urgently needed.
The recently launched Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X Prize aims to do just that: challenge scientists, engineers and innovators worldwide to come up with cost-effective, accurate and efficient pH sensors to measure ocean chemistry from its shallowest waters… to its deepest depths. Teams can compete for one or both of the two $1 million (about R10,4 million) purses – one for accuracy and one for affordability. For more information about the competition structure, important dates, and the registration process, or to submit an intent to compete for this breakthrough prize, please visit oceanhealth.xprize.org
The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X Prize is the second collaboration between Wendy Schmidt and X Prize. The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE was a $1,4 million competition to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions to speed the pace of cleaning up oil spills. Elastec/American Marine developed a new grooved disc skimmer that won the prize and shattered the competition requirements, collecting 17 677 litres a minute with nearly 90 per cent efficiency. The Grooved Disc Oil Skimmer was recognised in PM’s 2012 Breakthrough Awards.