Environmental Protection

XPRIZE and NRDC Team Up to Tackle Ocean Acidification

The two organizations sponsor a $2 million competition aimed at saving our oceans

The NRDC has partnered with the XPrize Foundation to support a $2 million solution to ocean acidification. Philanthropist Wendy Schmidt has pledged the money for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a competition that aims to improve the understanding of how CO2 emissions affect ocean acidification, according to Switchboard.

The competition starts in September and will last for 22 months. In the competition, teams will test ocean pH sensors in deep water, coastal and laboratory environments to determine which one has the best effectiveness.  Four total prizes are available; two first place prizes for $750,000 and two second place prizes for $250,000.

The XPrize Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports technological breakthroughs through competitions, created the competition to learn about which animal species, human locations and fisheries are at the most risk of ocean acidification—a change in the ocean’s chemistry that can have very detrimental effects. Scientists have been studying ocean acidification for over ten years.

According to an article from Switchboard, the Wendy Schmidt competition hopes to “create a global monitoring network for ocean acidification.” The competition is named after philanthropist Wendy Schmidt, who has previously supported the 2011 Oil Cleanup X Challenge.

Work has been done to monitor ocean acidification in the past—in fact, companies in the Pacific Northwest began monitoring their oyster industry after it almost collapsed in 2006 and were able to rescue it by installing pH and CO2 monitors. This competition aims at creating technology that would allow for more widespread monitoring such as this, which would allow for better research to be done on ocean acidification.  

The competition also plans on supporting the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act to further research ocean acidification.

For more information, visit: http://oceanhealth.xprize.org/
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