Water: a valuable asset for companies and citizens
Drinking water from the tap should increasingly be an established practice, as it brings both economic and environmental benefits.
Using water that arrives in our homes, compared to bottled water, not only brings annual savings of a few hundred euros per family, but also limits the use of plastic and reduces the pollution caused by transporting bottles by land, from the source to the supermarket. Distribution companies should increasingly sensitise their users to acquire this habit by making the chemical-physical analysis of water available transparently and more frequently than today.
The contribution with continuous research activities that Onyax has been implementing in recent years, aims not only at the digitalisation of distribution networks, but also at fostering the cultural transformation and sensitivity of citizens towards the most precious commodity on earth.
Low-power monitoring with intelligent sensors
Onyax, thanks to its design expertise in the field of electronic engineering, developed a patent and conducted research to adopt new available technologies such as NB-IoT (Narrow band – Internet of Things) networks and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) for water monitoring.
The main obstacle of this challenge was to identify and realise a multi-electrode sensor, i.e. a device capable of making potentiostatic and impedance measurements of water, with low-power characteristics.
The second aspect was to envisage the possibility of using Deep Learning capabilities to make the device capable of learning and gaining experience from each measurement, improving the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the monitored substance over tim
IoT innovation: measuring chemical and physical parameters remotely
Thanks to the experience gained in the IoT sector with the TUBE-T3 device for monitoring pressure and temperature, Onyax started from a solid base, the result of previous projects, and then proceeded with the experimentation and design of the EIS sensor.
The IoT device used in the water sector allows the transmission of acquired quantities via standard protocols either on a standard GSM/GPRS network (traditional mobile network) or with NB-IoT CAT M1 or NB1 (mobile IoT network). The device combined with the EIS sensor, i.e. a multi-electrode electrochemical impedance spectroscopy sensor, made it possible to acquire, store and transmit the main chemical/physical parameters such as temperature, hardness, pH, conductivity, RedOX potential, turbidity and the concentration of the main dissolved ions, e.g. free chlorine.
Based on experiments and chemical tests, Onyax was able to create the first chemical-physical analysis laboratory for water, simple, portable and installable in small spaces.
Results and benefits of the IoT solution
Onyax wanted to make its contribution through a digital and simple solution that favours the correct use of water resources.
The benefits of the IoT solution are measurable and tangible from an economic point of view, both for the company and its users, as they favour:
- a significant and quantified reduction in environmental pollution, resulting in oil savings for the production of plastic material;
- a moderation of CO2 emissions due to the processing and transport process, as well as a mitigation of environmental impact.
Laboratory tests gave positive results with extremely accurate values, attracting the attention of the industry and allowing the first successful trials to begin.
Sustainable innovation to make the best use of resources
In the near future, it will be necessary to make better use of resources such as water, avoiding unnecessary CO2 emissions into the environment or the creation of waste that is difficult to biodegrade such as plastic bottles. By raising awareness through targeted information, e.g. with smartphone applications, it will be possible to make everyone understand the advantages of using drinking water for food.
The sustainable approach, i.e. facilitating a process that makes the measurement of water quality available on a daily basis or more frequently, by means of simple and inexpensive tools, is one of our main goals.