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Transitioning Submersible Chemical Analyzer Technologies for Sustained, Autonomous Observations from Profiling Moorings, Gliders and other AUVs

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To transition existing prototype autonomous profiling nutrient analyzers into commercial products that can be readily deployed on autonomous profiling moorings, coastal gliders and propeller driven unmanned underwater vehicles and used for sustained, autonomous ocean observations of chemical distributions and variability. A series of issues have been identified that need to be addressed to convert prototype nutrient analyzers into commercial units that can be widely used by the community for sustained and accurate, stable, autonomous operation in the ocean. These issues are 1 a more compact size, 2 reduced reagent and power consumption, 3 enhanced biofouling suppression, 4 ease of use by non-chemists, and 5 documented performance when deployed on different platforms. Our plan to address those issues involved using recent advances in micro-fluidics and optical detectors new SubChem and WET Labs technologies to reduce sample flow rates and volumes and thus reagent and power consumption 2 extend the length of field deployments by periodically isolating sensitive components so that back-flushing and chemical techniques can be used to suppress biofouling, 3 increase the ease of use by simplifying operation, pre-packaging reagents and outputting the data in engineering units, and 4 thoroughly documenting the performance by conducting demonstration experiments at field sites that have strong vertical and horizontal nutrient gradients and episodic phytoplankton blooms. We are achieving these goals through this NOPP partnership. The industry partners have taken the lead in developing the commercial versions of the nutrient analyzers while the university and government partners are providing guidance defining the initial performance criteria for the nutrient analyzers and in providing the deployment platforms and conducting the field testing and demonstration experiments.

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  • Biology
  • Optical Detection and Detectors
  • Water Pollution and Control

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