Wellseedamm 1-3, 24145 Kiel, Germany
Multimethod Analyzer

Microplastic Sampler


The world ocean covers more than 70% of the surface of our planet but we still have a very limited understanding about this blue world. By far, the oceans are the largest habitat on earth and feeding the world depends strongly on a healthy ocean. Our energy supply is hinged on the ocean: extracting oil and gas, the transport of fossil fuels and as location for renewables. We are able to extract drinking water from the sea and we ship our goods around the planet with gigantic vessels.

All those activities rely on an understanding of the ocean and on predictions how the oceans and the overlaying atmosphere interact. Satellite based observations are a very powerful tool for ocean observation and the sheer amount of data coming from satellites is outstanding. However, we still need to set sails and observe and measure on site. Scientists deploy instruments, which are capable to monitor the oceans from its surface down to the great depth of the sea floor. This is no easy task. Instruments need to withstand enormous mechanical stress in stormy seas or in great depth, resist the aggressive nature of sea salt and need a power source for operating in remote areas. At the same time, researcher ask for precision, accuracy and long-time stability when it comes to measure essential ocean parameters.

Charting the ocean’s plastic pollution

It is estimated that 8-10 million metric tons of plastic are littered annually into the ocean; only 1% of that plastic is actually detected by researchers. Plastic pollution is a major threat for the marine environment and as consequent a serious risk for fishing and the supply of healthy sea food. We know that large chunks of plastic are degraded into smaller particles, but sources and pathways of microplastics remain unclear. Charting the contamination with plastic is an important step to estimate the magnitude of the pollution and frame strategies for overcome the problem.

Autonomous sampling even in rough seas

We developed an innovative and one-of-a-kind Microplastic Sampler for underway systems to cover the demand in getting high-quality scientifical data. While previous methods are based on towing of huge nets and require a skilled crew for operation, the system works autonomously and do not depend on a calm sea state. Our instruments are operated even on racing yachts at high boat speed and during all sea conditions with a low demand on man power. Samples are separated by size fractioning and can easily connected with lab based analytical methods.

State-of-the-art technology for unattended functionality

The new Microplastic Sampler is able to catch smallest concentration of ocean surface microplastic particles on-board of small to large vessels during cruising.

The method had been tested during the last Volvo Ocean Race (2017/18 – see illistration). Remarkable and unique scientific data had been collected. The Microplastic Sampler can be operated standalone or in combination with or powerful OceanPack underway system (“FerryBox”).

In accordance to limitations in space, weight & functionality, we designed an additional sampling-system, that is larger. To find out more about our Plankton Sampler (multifunctional sampler), click here.




Sampling water is piped from a defined water inlet towards the instrument and pass a strainer (coarse filter) before flowing through the filter elements. The filter elements (cassette) consist of three filters with a defined mesh size (instantaneous size fractioning: e.g. 300–100 –30 μm). The water pump is arranged downstream the filter cassette in order to avoid possible contamination. A flowmeter measures the filter volume and two pressure sensors are able to detect cloaking. An external GPS antenna provides position and an accurate time stamp. All data is internally logged. Data output is possible in real time on a serial interface in NMEA-0183 format. The data can also be downloaded later via USB.

Microplastic Sampler

Plankton Sampler


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Call Us: +(49) 431-22039-880

Mail Us: info@subctech.com

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