College funding to support environmental revolution for waterways
City of Glasgow College has been awarded £23,500 to support the ongoing development of a mobile device that will read and analyse water quality.
In collaboration with Altitude Thinking Ltd, founded by electrical engineering graduate, Dale Colley, the project aims to deliver a new prototype - Aquabot 2.0. This drone can be remotely operated on the surface of rivers, canals or lochs to monitor water quality.
The grant of £23,500 was awarded by the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS) who are also contributing their expertise on engineering wirelessly operating IoT devices.
As Dale explains, the device will provide a better understanding of what is happening within our rivers and canals. “It has clear and positive benefits for the environment,” he said.
“The Aquabot is based on a range of sensor technologies. Initial field trials I did with Scottish Canals, monitoring surface water quality, were successful. Using a multi-parameter sensor that can be readily adapted on demand, this device could measure everything from oxygen levels, pH levels, and turbidity, to chemical or biological compounds in the water.
“It offers a fantastic opportunity to radically alter how environmental conditions are monitored in Scotland.”
The Aquabot also presents a huge market opportunity. From 2014 to 2019 the UK’s collection, treatment and supply sector for water quality monitoring was worth £7.3 billion per annum with an annual growth of 2.1%. While businesses that discharge water into the environment are required by law to have a SEPA discharge licence.
Linus Reichenbach, Project Manager for STEM and Innovation at City of Glasgow College, said:
“Dale’s long term ambition for the Aquabot is to include a suite of future capabilities such as sub surface monitoring of inland water, artificial intelligence to detect and remove plastic pollution, and autonomous decision making based on pollution detection. Once on the marketplace, we could eventually see a significant number of these working their way up and down the waterways and sending data back.”
The first Aquabot prototype was designed by Dale with technical and professional support from the college’s Innovation & STEM team and funding through the Scottish Funding Council’s Interface Innovation Voucher scheme.
“After this proof of concept project, we are now ready to develop Aquabot 2.0 which can serve as a full demonstrator model for the company and, potentially, first commercial uses,” said Linus.
Its enhancements from the original concept include:
- Larger and sturdier body suitable for rougher water and with fully autonomous autopilot
- Improved sensor set to allow further upgrades and replacements, and a wide range of parameters to enable more detailed and situation specific monitoring
- Improved communication and IoT connectivity, transferring sensor data directly to a cloud based platform for clients to access
- Improved data visualisation and reporting functions.
Linus added: “This is the college’s first research project to be funded by a Scottish Innovation Centre. And it is one that provides a great opportunity to contribute to the development of technology that will ultimately lead to a cleaner and safer environment - while continuing to support a former student.”
It is expected that, while development will continue, Aquabot 2.0 will be ready for first commercial activity shortly after the end of the project in the summer of 2021.
- Thames Water celebrates International Women in Engineering Day Female engineers at Thames Water have shared their stories to mark International Women in Engineering Day and encourage... Read More >
- United Utilities offers free compliance checks to farmers United Utilities is offering free and confidential compliance checks for farmers to make sure they are following the... Read More >
- Scottish Water brings beach landing island water works on stream Scottish Water has brought on line a new state of the art water treatment works, which was delivered by sea to one of... Read More >
- NI Water: A climate emergency gamechanger NI Water has launched its plans to harness the unseen potential in hydrogen from water, to help address the climate... Read More >
- Making the future the present Harry Cowan, chief executive of Power and Water Ltd challenges water industry decision makers and the regulator to eschew... Read More >
- Water Innovation 2050: what next for the sector? Welcome to 2050. The Innovation 2050 document has been published, setting out the key principles of an innovation... Read More >
- Innovation could improve performance and transform water The Environment Agency's 2019 environmental performance report highlights some of the complex challenges facing water... Read More >
- Maximising water efficiency savings from smart meters and adapting to lockdown From 1 September, Thames Water will restart its award-winning programme of in-home water efficiency visits having used... Read More >