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20 November, 2020 - 21:03 By Tony Quested

Oceans of opportunity as waterways monitor pioneer scales globally

A Cambridge sensory technology business is taking a new product to market in a landmark move that holds exciting opportunities for the planet.

ANB Sensors is targeting global expansion in 2021 through the commercialisation of an innovative device called the S-Series ocean pH sensor. 

The product has mass-market appeal because it allows for calibration-free monitoring of the world’s oceans and waterways, resolving a problem that until now, scientists had struggled to solve. 

Dr Nathan Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of ANB Sensors, said: “This is a key stage of ANB Sensors’ growth as an SME, because it saw us transferring from a research and development company to a commercial entity. It’s a major milestone for us.” 

Details of the product launch comes five months after Business Weekly revealed how ANB was talking to big players globally about potential partnerships and scaling internationally after securing unspecified seed funding.

Through securing more than £1.3 million of grant funding to date and being the only UK company to be awarded an H2020 EU grant in their round, the business has filed nine patents with more in the pipeline. Participation in Hatch Blue’s 2020 accelerator program has further expedited the company’s commercialisation.

Lawrence added: “Having completed our R & D phase, we are now ready to commercialise and the advice and expertise from our new investors will be key to achieving this.”

ANB Sensors has been supported in taking the product to market by Harper James Solicitors, which specialises in supporting companies from startup to scale-up.

Emilia Smith from Harper James added: “Nathan and the team at ANB Sensors are at an exciting new stage in the evolution of their business. It was important that they were able to take their product to market safely in the knowledge that all the legals had been dealt with. They have and now we look forward to helping this dynamic business in the future as they continue to grow.”

ANB Sensors develops smart, affordable, self-calibrating pH sensing technologies. There are a multitude of new applications and markets that will benefit from small, affordable, calibration-free, robust pH sensors – from oceanographic monitoring using autonomous underwater vehicles, to large-scale water networks and industrial plants. 

Besides being cheaper to operate, the drop-and-forget sensors will have an important part in rapidly expanding markets of networked and online water monitoring.

pH is the number one chemical measurement used today and is required across a vast amount of industries. Despite its importance, pH sensing technology has changed very little in decades, and in many emergent fields, is simply not up to the task: the expensive and fragile glass electrodes need to be manually calibrated on a regular basis, and do not operate in low-buffer media. 

This frequent manual calibration to maintain accuracy has a huge impact on maintenance costs, the quantity that can be deployed, while also having a significant environmental impact.

ANB Sensors is addressing this issue and will provide a solution to meet the demands required for a networkable solution. The technology is based on a voltammetric electrochemical technique to verify the performance of the reference electrode and calibrate it, in-situ, when drift occurs. 

It can either be retrofitted into the reference chamber of existing glass electrodes or combined with ANB Sensors patented solid-state pH sensor to form an all solid-state, robust, calibration-free solution.

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