What technology are you using?
Q: Brief overview of the technology you are using?
A: Team GLASS is partnership between sensor manufacturer Green Eyes LLC, water data analytics provider H2Ometrics, engineering consultants OHM Advisors and HESCO a Telog telemetry broker. Our team integrates a tried-and-true wet chemistry sensor with proven data networking solutions and an innovative commercial water data analytics platform.
Q: How does this technology advance the field/process of detection?
A: The NuLAB is a rugged, compact and reliable instrument that automates accepted wet chemical methods to measure nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, reactive phosphorus, ammonia and silicate) in natural waters. It has demonstrated that when properly deployed with reagents and an accurate standard the data compares well with hand collected samples processed in the laboratory. Although the NuLAB is relatively new, it has demonstrated that it can collect high frequency, accurate data for 4-6 weeks between service visits. It includes innovative solutions to account for matrix and other background signals or interferences that are difficult even for laboratory instruments. We suggest the NuLAB is a meaningful advancement in field deployed nutrient detection.
Q: What innovations are you bringing to the sensor technology? Network technology? Data analytics?
A: The NuLAB’s rotary valve and syringe pump design are unique to chemical field monitoring systems. It provides flexibility in dilution, mixing and reaction times not found in other wet-chemical sensors. Green Eyes has leveraged this design to develop unique techniques to handle flushing, bubble formation and inlet fouling. While we are pleased with the reliability and accuracy of the NuLAB, our new focus is to optimize the device and deployment procedures to reduce operational costs. For the Internet of H2O Challenge, we are testing smaller syringes that enabled us to reduce the sample, standard and reagent volumes by 50%. H2Ometrics is a data analytics tool that harnessed the cloud to store extensive data sets, coupled with powerful browsers to perform the visualizations, metrics, and analysis, lightning fast.
Q: What has been an unexpected technological issue that you had to face?
A: The first versions of the NuLAB (2015) did not include a data logger/controller. Green Eyes developed a controller based on the open source Raspberry Pi single board computer in 2016. The controller is very functional and easy to use, but we have discovered “bugs” in the code during long-term tests that have caused data interruptions. None of these bugs are particularly difficult to fix, but the process of discovering them has been more challenging than anticipated.
What brought you to the Internet of H2O challenge (besides the prize money)?A: Team GLASS is focused on supporting communities to address nutrient pollution at the source. A full-scale monitoring network could identify nutrient hot spots, guide management programs to target those sources and monitor the success of implemented solutions. Our team is uniquely positioned to provide program effectiveness validation. The Internet of H2O Challenge provides us an opportunity to highlight our services.
Reflection on the pilot:
Q: What do you hope to learn about your technology during this pilot?
A: We were excited to demonstrate our ability to bring the real time nutrient monitoring vision into reality.
Q: What have you learnt already after your deployment? If there were issues during your deployment, how do you plan to mitigate them?Q: What benefits has this challenge offered regarding the refinement of your product / services?
A: Our deployment went smoothly and or team was collecting and streaming data within hours of arriving on site. Support from Dr. Laura Johnson’s group at Heidelberg University was critical to the success of our deployment. The Heidelberg group provided access to the site multiple times and helped reboot the system when we hit a minor glitch, thus saving the Green Eyes team an additional trip from the DC area. This support highlights the fact that a successful field deployment requires uncomplicated access, local support, and teamwork.
A: Each component of the Team GLASS nutrient monitoring solution was developed and in use prior to the Challenge. This challenge provided the incentive to link the components together and demonstrate their effectiveness as a functioning integrated system.
Overall, how has the experience been working in this project and with the Internet of H2O Organizing team?
A: The organizing team has been positive, responsive, and supportive. They arranged access to technology specific mentors when we had questions. Most importantly, it was the Challenge organizers that introduced Green Eyes LLC to the H2Ometrics/OHM Advisors portion of the team. Our team is much stronger as a result and we look forward to continuing our working relationship regardless of the outcome of the Challenge.
What do you hope will happen after the competition is over?
A: Our team has assembled a working autonomous nutrient monitoring package combined with cloud based telemetry and a powerful data analytics platform. We have independently learned from years of experience, have been through many cycles of refinement and are have now linked these solutions together. We are ready to implement this technology broadly, and only need an opportunity to begin.
What would you say to other cities that are trying to do projects like this?
A: With the evolution of the IoT, the Internet of Water is a logical progression and application of today’s best available technologies. The application of these technologies through an “Internet of Water” approach, promises to lower the costs and efforts involved in water quality monitoring, and yield more valuable data sets capable of illuminating previously unseen relationships and solving complex and wide scale challenges faced by watersheds.