Researchers at STC together with MittSverige Vatten, the environment office at Sundsvall Municipality and the company Dewire have developed a prototype for a new sensor system that can alert and track oil spills in storm drains.
The municipality have recent years worked intensively to reduce discharges to water. However, problems remain with sudden oil spills to the water grid which are difficult to detect in time. Often, the spill reach treatment plants or waterways before it is discovered and then it already have damaged the aquatic environment.
- Today's solutions for the detection of oil pollution is complicated and time consuming. We have been working a long time to track emissions in our pipeline faster but it was when we got in touch with Mid Sweden University we found the possibility of using sensors to alarm oil spills in a early stage, says Anna Stenlund at MittSverige Vatten.
In a prestudy researchers at Mid Sweden University has tested a sensor that can detect small amounts of oil in moving water. The sensor is immersed in a stormwater drain and data from the sensor is transmitted to a system where the oil presence in the well can be monitored in real time. Now, the first prototype has been deployed in a stormwater drain near Selångersån in Sundsvall and the data will continuously become available through a webpage that is evaluated by the researchers and the Mid Sweden Water.
- The sensors have to be reliable and transmit data wirelessly in real time to an IoT platform that alarms when a oil spill occur and presents each emission has been detected, says Per Lundgren at Dewire that develops mobile applications and IoT solutions.
The next step is to produce a low-cost sensorsolution that makes it possible to measure at several points simultaneously. In this way, emissions are limited in time and it is easier to trace the source. This is planned to take place in the large research action called SMART - Smart systems and services, which are scheduled to start in autumn, 2016.
- The research challenges are several in the project, to find a sensor solution that manages the external environment challenges. The sensor should also be energy supplied efficiently without the extra work such as battery replacement, says Professor Bengt Oelmann.
The objective of the SMART project is to strengthen the competitiveness of companies in the region with the help of new technologies such as the Internet of Things.