An innovative Dutch company has developed a combination of instruments to monitor the quality of surface water. The system is based on remote sensing technology based on analysis of satellite images, and this technology has been implemented in hand-held and fixed position devices. The system provides monitoring capabilities that are compatible with satellite remote sensing. The company is looking for distributors for distribution agreements, and also for services agreements with clients.
Surface water quality is a global concern for bathing, for drinking water supply and for aquaculture. Monitoring and mitigating the growth of toxin-producing cyanobacteria and harmful algae blooms is key. Surface water quality can be monitored by both in situ devices and satellite imaging. Satellite imagery provides a large surface overview for larger bodies of water, but the temporal resolution is low and cloud covers pose interruptions in the vision. The algorithms used in the analysis of the satellite images have now been implemented in hand-held and fixed position remote sensing devices. This creates a monitoring capability which is independent of cloud cover and has the potential for automated, near real time, continuous measuring of critical water quality parameters. The result is a complete system of observational tools that are compatible and that complement each other and which supports decision making in water management, for application in both fresh and marine surface waters. The devices uses hyper-spectral imaging techniques over a broad and detailed spectrum. The spectral imagery being created is currently analysed for the following surface water quality parameters: ◾Chlorophyll-a (as a proxy for algae) ◾Phycocyanin (as a proxy for cyanobacteria) ◾Cyanobacteria scum layers ◾Total suspended matter ◾Water transparency ◾Coloured dissolved organic matter However, the information in the spectra allows for further extension once algorithms are being developed. Using weather forecasts, knowledge rules, and the high-frequency dataset generated by fixed-position monitors. In the future the system will provide forecasts on the water quality parameters for the next 1-3 days. The systems can also be used to detect sudden changes in water quality due to sewer spills, agricultural activities, presence of harmful algae in the vicinity of aquaculture production, and for impact assessment of water rehabilitation projects. Also monitoring of drinking water is of increasing importance, with the recently growing evidence for the relation between phycocyanin produced by cyanobacteria (blue algae) and neurological problems such as dementia in humans along the entire drinking water and food chain. Besides the sale and lease of instruments, services offered include data handling, modelling and reporting at various service levels. The system makes use of a reporting network: the company saves all the data generated and can make these available through a webbased portal, accessible through both personal computer and mobile devices. The reporting can be fully tailored to customer requirements. Client savings are achieved through reduced lab costs, more efficient and targeted mitigating action, increased yields in aquaculture and improved customer satisfaction (e.g. less bathing water closures, higher quality of drinking water). Field trials have been conducted in collaboration with several water authorities in e.g. the Netherlands, China and Singapore. Projects have been undertaken in the Netherlands for several water boards, in Alberta and Vancouver Island (Canada, aquaculture), Ohio (USA, drinking water), Eastern Europe, Australia, Singapore (drinking water) and China (environmental monitoring, drinking water intake). As a result, sales of both instruments and services were secured. Envisaged risks are related to user acceptance of the technology, as compared to conventional lab methods such as laboratory measurements and fluorimeters. The primary goal of the company is to secure service agreements, which include the sale and lease of field instruments. For this, the company is looking for distributors with a network in surface water quality, for cooperation within the frame of a distribution services agreement. Secondary the company is open for service agreements with clients like water boards, environmental managers, drinking water utilities and aquaculture companies.
Innovations and advantages
Compared to prevailing techniques to monitor surface water quality, this system has the following advantages: - Compared to traditional sampling, this system is able to make forecasts and predictions. - Compared to traditional sampling, this is a continuous monitoring system also providing information on incidents, whereas sampling is done on a much more limited frequency basis. - The installed system can run unmanned and is fully automated - Compared to satellite imaging only, this system has a higher resolution and detailing and is not influenced by cloudy weather etc. The company has an excellent knowledge of water quality and has international experience. It consistes of a small team with service oriented people.
Current stage of development
The first generation hand-held devices has been introduced to the market. The second generation hand-held devices is currently in concept stage. The fixed-position monitor is currently moving from concept stage to the market (second half of 2016).
01002004 Embedded Systems and Real Time Systems
01002008 Optical Networks and Systems
09001007 Optical Technology related to measurements
10004008 Water Resourses Management
Market application codes
09005 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Animal Husbandry & Related Products
Comments, number and date of patent
Patent application submission being considered, Worldwide exclusive rights to use the technology
Area of partner's activity
Type of partner sought: distributor Area of activity: specialized in supply equipment for quality monitoring of surface water Role of partner: Support in the sales, installation and service of the system. Close services agreements. Feedback essential information about local or regional water quality challenges. In case of clients for services agreements: Type of partner sought: like water boards, environmental managers, drinking water utilities and aquaculture companies. Specific field: surface water managers in public and private service. Role of partner: share the local situation and challenges, help define the parameters to be monitored and help define the format of the desired output.