SenseOCEAN consists of six main research work packages:
Work Package 1 – Development of core technologies
To achieve the envisioned low-cost, small integrated mass producible and mass deployable multi-parameter sensor suite requires the adoption of standard systems and architecture across the range of sensors. These systems that are common are the sensor package electronics, communications systems, data management, connectors and interfaces, mechanical systems, resources and their management (power and reagents if used), shared analytical systems, and biofouling protection. By developing these core technologies there is an obvious saving in time and money by avoiding replication of effort across groups working on different technical approaches to sensor development, commonality also reduces the size and cost of resulting system(s). This work package will serve to develop the technologies that will be adopted across all of the sensors in the project.
Work Package 2 – Analytical technologies
SenseOCEAN will address the current paucity of small low-cost sensors that can be mass produced and address biogeochemical parameters of international priority (e.g. for use in Aquaculture, Shellfish fisheries, bio-Argo, in European glider fleets, and observatory programs). This work package will develop and realize a suite of novel high performance analytical technologies that will form the heart of these systems, and will address the key analytical challenges. The proposed sensor technologies are chosen as they are the most likely to comprehensively address the highest priority (and market driven) but currently poorly measured biogeochemical targets, yet can also deliver low-cost, mass producible and mass deployable systems. Further the technologies chosen have commonalities (see WP 1) enabling an integrated sensor suite with shared / common elements and architecture, and are scalable to further high priority targets (these are transferable platform technologies). Some duplication is deliberate to i) cover differing application requirements and ii) reduce risk in developing a comprehensive biogeochemical sensor suite.
Work Package 3 – Design and adaptation for manufacturing and market
SenseOCEAN will produce preproduction prototypes of multiple (25) integrated sensor suites and copies of individual sensors because we target applications where large numbers of low-cost sensors would be required. Scale-up during the research project ensures lasting impact and genuine prospects of commercialization and uptake. In addition, it drives the research development and engineering of the sensors towards practical and robust elegant designs that can be manufactured in number. This work package will ensure that manufacture is considered in design and will evolve laboratory and academic / small run designs to prepare for up-scaled manufacture. To ease manufacture of the integrated sensor suites, common components, shared resources and integration will be used extensively. Market driven requirements such as robustness, ease of operation, and long term performance will be addressed.
Work Package 4 – Testing and validation
In this work package we will perform detailed testing of the sensor technology and integrated sensor suites. Laboratory testing will enable evaluation of analytical technique performance, and validation of prototype components and systems. As technology readiness level is increased laboratory testing will evaluate performance of individual sensors (and the sensor suites), in progressively more realistic scenarios culminating in laboratory test in synthetic and real seawater at high pressure and low temperature. Testing in realistic scenarios in the environment will provide the ultimate testing and will ring out unforeseen matrix, environmental and operational problems. It is essential that this is done within the sensor development cycle to ensure a high quality product results.
Work Package 5 – Production and integration
In this work package we will set up systems, resources and supply routes to manufacture large numbers of each sensor, and the integrated sensor suites. Whilst we will design our production systems (including tooling where necessary) for larger numbers (1000s) we will manufacture 10 copies of each sensor. This includes common and sensors specific components, interfaces and integrated sensor suite assemblies. We will also develop qualification tests to ensure working sensors are delivered for testing and ultimately demonstration.
Work Package 6 – Demonstration of developed sensor packages
SenseOCEAN will develop at, or near market, sensor packages for the marine and wider environmental industries. To maximize take up it is essential to complete at least limited demonstration exercises in environments representative of those in key pre-existing markets. Thus we will complete demonstrations of sensors and sensor suites, their interoperability and performance on underwater observatories in scientifically relevant environments. We will integrate the multifunctional sensor system into different underwater platforms, e.g. autonomous lander, shallow-water and deep-sea benthic observatories, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and water column moorings. Thus the instrument will be deployed in shallow waters in the North Sea, the deeper waters on the European continental shelf, the deeper upwelling areas off South America and the Arctic deep sea to study the sequence of events during and after blooms. A major goal will be the mediation between sensor requirements and platform capabilities.