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Contributed by: ATEKNEA Solutions Hungary

Low-budget monitoring and controlling system for in situ soil remediation technologies
The need

3.5 million sites are estimated to be contaminated by former industrial activity in the European Union, out of which approximately 0.5 million need immediate remediation. Some contaminants can pollute groundwater and surface water which results a high threat for human health. The remediation of such sites is reinforced both by European and domestic laws as well as by local authorities and inhabitants. The major drawbacks of bioremediation processes, in general, are the uncertainty of process success and the difficulty of process control.

The solution: Autonomous control and remote adjustment of the remediation process

INTELLIREMED, a novel automatic, self-sustained groundwater monitoring and treatment system which gives a powerful tool for the users to analyze their samples in real-time and make actions remotely based on the sensor network’s results. The project incorporates two big innovations: a biosensor unit which is able to measure the exact quantity of a desired contaminant and smart and self-sustained monitoring nodes by powering microbial fuel cells (MFC).

Building an innovative bioremediation monitoring and remote controls

The development of the system was started with detailed system specification based on the end-user needs and with the investigation of the test field that means groundwater samples were analyzed by different analytical measurements methods to determine the most optimal arrangement of INTELLIREMED system. The investigations were especially focused on the field’s microflore activity. Every module were specified deeply.

The development of the microbial fuel cells (MFC) units was started with the design of the laboratory scaled versions. The aim of this task was to prove the working principle of the unit and to improve its effectiveness. During the development several arrangements, and mediator materials were tested and the outpost was measured.
In order to start field use, it was essential to develop a closed system. A so called tube-in-tube design was constructed in which the inner tube was for the vital tubing for the cathode electrodes and also the electrical cables. More than 50 pieces of field scaled MFCs were constructed.

The characterization of the biosensor unit was a long and complex process and started with the setting of the immobilization protocol. Based on the laboratory experiments the biosensor was optimized and the highest sensitivity level was reached. Then the flow cell, the control firmware of the device was also designed and the read out unit was selected. The controlling of the device is possible from any pc or tablet, the system is compatible with Android and Windows OS.

The proper wireless communication module was selected and the control firmware was developed. In order to mitigate the risk of the MFC development rechargeable batteries were used in the first version of the wireless sensor nodes (WSN).

Besides the TU development the remote server unit (RSU) was also designed. That means the complex INTELLIREMED database was setup based on MySQL platform, the responsive, platform independent user interface was developed based on web-based Wordpress engine and the private remote TU access was established by using VPN.

About the project

The two-year long project started in December 2013 and ended in November 2015. 8 participants work on the realization of the project for 24 months.

For more information please visit the INTELLIREMED project website where an animation video on INTELLIREMED system is also available:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 606662. The implementation of the project is managed and controlled by the Research Executive Agency (



    ATEKNEA Solutions Hungary

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