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In-situ Total Nutrient Analyser System for Natural Waters

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - H2OMon (In-situ Total Nutrient Analyser System for Natural Waters)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2020-10-31

T.E. Laboratories (Tellab) is an Irish chemical analysis company with the ambition of rolling out the first low-cost in-situ total nutrient all-matrix water monitoring system for use in measuring the levels of nitrates/nitrites, phosphates and ammonia in both salt- and fresh water for use by large and small users globally. Our solution ensures that all workers and managers find the solution intuitively easy to use and interpret regardless of their technical background
The problem is that currently, the most commonly used method for measuring levels of chemical pollutants is the physical collection of a spot/grab (bottle) sample that is then analysed back in the laboratory. Although well established, it has a number of disadvantages, including cost, the results often become available only after several days and it only shows a snapshot of a measured variable at the instant of sampling. Additionally, the complexity, short deployment endurance and high cost of current in-situ monitoring systems make them unaffordable and impractical for many users to put into practice. This is especially true for small scale operations.
Our innovative solution, the H2OMon integrated nitrate/phosphorous/ammonia all natural water monitoring system, is rooted in the clear market-pull caused by the industrial and domestic need to comply with increasingly tightly policed water nutrient pollution regulations, infringements of which carry heavy fines. Our solution is a multi-parameter autonomous microfluidic device can perform in-situ calibration and high -frequency measurements over long deployment periods. Its in-built communication system and process control add-on enable the user to remotely monitor water quality in lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal zones; alerting them via immediate warning on the detection of a pollutant and enabling immediate action to be taken to limit environmental damage. H2OMon translates traditional water monitoring assets into “smart assets” that provide real-time information. This enables decision makers to make interventional, operational and safety decisions based on the actual condition of the water. This paradigm shift from a slow reactive to a quick reactive and potentially preventative approach offers several environmental benefits including, speed of response, mitigation of pollutant effect, reductions in down time for industry and reductions in risk to personnel.
The overall objective and approach of the H2OMon project is to pilot and commercialise our integrated hardware/software solution.
H2OMon technology maturation & final prototyping: to deliver a final prototype at TRL8, ready for piloting in real-operating conditions.
H2OMon performance validation (to reach TRL9): perform large- scale piloting and validation under real- world conditions. This will start in earnest at the beginning of 2021 where we will deploy at fresh water and marine water sites across Ireland including industrial and treatment plants. The integrated nitrite/nitrate and phosphate analyser will be ready for this extensive pilot testing in early 2021 while the ammonium analyser will be later in Q1 of 2021.
H2OMon commercialisation readiness and innovation management: Parallel to the technology maturation activities, market maturation activities will be implemented. To ensure optimum progress of the project, measures to maximise the project impact and innovation management will run for the entire project duration and will result in the the creation of our final Business Innovation and Commercialisation Plans. As part of innovation management, the first iteration of the Network Patent Analysis has been completed in Deliverable 7.2. Our market analysis and interim Business Innovation and Commercialisation Plans which were completed in October 2020, provided TelLab with an indepth understanding of the market, the problems to be solved, the needs of the different market segments while at the same time, outlining a robust plan to ensure that we protect our technology through patents to ensure first mover advantage in the global market.
Progress Beyond State of the Art:
Current state of the art research conducted during our feasibility study by Tellab and also by ACT for the Nutrient Sensor Challenge has identified a clear gap in the marketplace. The environmental monitoring sensor systems commercially available today are either prohibitively costly or highly inflexible and have had very low user satisfaction when operated under a continuous, long- time mode due to the electrode sensor becoming fouled or encrusted by bacteria, ions or other charged particles in the water.
H2OMon’s technology is unique as it is a remote water monitoring system that combines a multi-parameter, all natural water operation with affordability and accuracy.

Expected Results:
1.Design optimisation and final engineering of H2OMon sub-components based on end-users' requirements.
2.Performance validation through large-scale piloting in real-world settings with input of potential clients during their supervision of the testing on their sites.
3. A resilient supply chain will be established. A plan for communication, dissemination, and exploitation of results is being developed and implemented over the course of the project. The final Business Innovation and Commercialisation plans will be developed as an ongoing process during the project.

Potential Impacts:
1. The H2OMon solution can more effectively inform waste water treatment plant operators about levels of nutrients in outfall water. Our platform integrates results and analysis tools which makes regulatory compliance easier to manage, thereby ensuring a safer downstream water supply chain and greater public confidence.
2. H2OMon allows for individualised remote monitoring and an overview of nutrients in all matrices according to the specific organisation’s needs. Our solution is available 24/7 anywhere and, on any platform, to ensure easy and flexible management adaptable in accordance with time availability, enabling end users to align investment in resources with current and future needs.
3. H2OMon can easily make accessible related pieces of information independently. Our solution favours a deeper insight into total nutrient changes and what the required response should be by breaking up metrics into several easy to understand displays. This feature enables the optimisation of performance and quality control within a regulated environment e.g. in waste water treatment plants.
4.The H2OMon project provides domestic users with the most efficient low cost solution enabling the cost-effective improvement in both ethical credentials and economic performance. H2OMon optimises the frequency of emptying of septic tanks. By improving awareness of when discharges to the environment are approaching their limits, H2OMon reduces the number of incidences of nutrient pollution and reduces septic tank running costs by 5%
H2OMon: new design outer case
H2OMon: Project logo