• Talking WWEM and AQE with Our Award Winners

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Talking WWEM and AQE with Our Award Winners

Nov 10 2022

At this year’s Water, Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring (WWEM) and Air Quality and Emissions (AQE) conferences in Telford, a number of awards were given out for excellence in various aspects of air, water and environmental monitoring. To learn a little more about their products, partnerships and why they come to these events, International Environmental Technology took a walk around the exhibition floor to talk to some of the winning exhibitors.

AQE’s Best Supplier Service Award: EarthSense

EarthSense is an award-winning manufacturer of air quality monitors. However, the company’s digital services extend far beyond the provision of instrumentation. “We think of it as a hardware-enabled software service,” says EarthSense MD Tom Hall. In addition to the collection of air quality data, EarthSense’s products enable users such as local authorities, transport professionals and construction companies to more easily visualise air quality data, with the provision of insights for mitigation and improvement measures. Public portals are also available offering clear and simple displays to improve community engagement.

Air quality is visualised on the MyAir® web application and measurements can be integrated with other systems such as traffic management to leverage the value of the data. In addition, MappAir® provides a visualisation of the flow of air pollution around cities, so that air quality data can be correlated with infrastructure and social metrics. EarthSense is also able to model air quality and provide predictions so that traffic managers, for example, can make live decisions that minimise air pollution. 

The Zephyr® is an indicative ambient air quality monitor that accurately measures harmful gases and particle matter, providing real-time data to detect trends and identify pollution hotspots. As a scalable solution, networks of monitors can be easily deployed in the development of smarter and cleaner towns and cities.

AQE’s Best Air Quality Network Monitoring Award: Kunak

At AQE 2022, Spanish manufacturer Kunak Technologies won the Smart Network Monitoring award for the Kunak AIR Pro. To get all of the details on the instrument and find out why Kunak made the journey to exhibit at AQE this year, International Environmental Technology spoke to Edurne Ibarrola, the firm’s Chief Scientific Officer.

“The Kunak AIR Pro is our air quality monitoring station, which measures different gas parameters and particles. It has a cartridge system: the sensors are embedded within each cartridge which itself contains all of the capacity for different configuration and calibration parameters. Using electrochemical cells, it knows how to deal with all of the environmental conditions. All of this data, monitoring in real-time, is sent to our air quality software, the Kunak Cloud,”

Then, we discussed the benefits of exhibiting at AQE as an international company.

“Well, AQE gives you the chance to learn about the UK market, which is quite difficult when you’re based abroad in another country. It gives you a chance to get to know what other sensor manufacturers and developers like us are doing, as well as the chance to meet with companies which might need to measure air quality in different applications or projects. So, it’s been really helpful for opening up our company to the UK market.”

AQE’s Best Supplier and End-User Partnership Award: ACOEM

For the past three years, Felicity Sharp has served as the Country Operating Officer at ACOEM. For ACOEM’s partnership with South Lanarkshire Council, the firm received the Best Supplier and End-User Partnership award at this year’s AQE. To learn a little bit more, we caught up with Felicity on the exhibition floor.

“It goes back a very long time, South Lanarkshire Council and ACOEM have had a partnership for almost 20 years! It spans across almost the entire breadth of our company so we service and maintain their reference equipment, we also look after their small sensors, their AQMesh systems and we provide data reports for them. It’s been a brilliant relationship that’s been built on trust and honesty and open communication. So, we’re really, really proud that they’ve been involved in this one, and happy to win it with them.”

Finally, we asked Felicity about why ACOEM attends AQE every year.

“We love AQE! It’s a place where we can meet our customers, our suppliers, our partners and our competitors, have chats and discussions, one-on-one. Also, we love to hear from the speakers at the conference, which had a really great programme, this year.”

AQE’s Most Innovative Instrument, Product or Digital Solution Award: Trolex

It’s been a long time coming but Trolex have finally unveiled their game-changing, real-time silica monitor, the Air XS. In recognition of this achievement, Trolex received the award for Most Innovative Instrument, Product, or Digital Solution at AQE 2022.

“Around 8 years ago, we were looking at some of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) statistics and we noted something that was kind of shocking. Three of the top five causes of death and sources of harm to workers in industrial environments were particulates-based: asbestos, silica, and diesel particulates. Nobody seemed to be innovating and the number of deaths - 12,000 a year - was massive. We were like: why is nobody solving this? It took eight years, we set up our own bespoke laser laboratory, we brought experts in from around the world – but we did it.

In simple terms, we’re firing a beam at a particle and looking for a number of parameters around size, shape and refractive response, because the refractive response of silica is completely unique. For the first time, you can know in real-time how much respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is in the air, so that workers can be warned, told to evacuate, put their mask on, put on the ventilation or suppression system; people can understand exactly what’s happening in real-time as the situation changes. When they’ve reached the legal limit, it will tell them they need to take action!”

Next, we discussed Trolex’s time at AQE 2022 and why they find the show to be the right venue to promote their ground-breaking products.

“Look, it’s a great show. A lot of our technology partners are here and our distribution partners, too, so we’re obviously looking for customers but also distribution partners. The show’s got a more international audience, too, and that’s important to us. We find it a really useful show for the quality of the people that come on the stand. What we want is people who are genuinely interested in the subject matter, and this is spot-on in terms of that.”

In 2024, AQE will return bigger and better, graduating to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. For information on AQE 2024, click here.

WWEM’s Best Supplier and End-User Partnership Award: UDLive

On to WWEM’s successful exhibitors, now. UDlive has developed the CatsEye II Pixel, a robust, IP68, low-cost radar water level sensor for below and above ground use. Typically, the device is installed under manholes to monitor level and flow in sewers. 

Thousands of the instruments have been supplied to water companies and there are two main reasons for this success. Firstly, they are able to measure depth over a range of up to 7.5 metres, and secondly, the challenges of communicating with instrumentation inside a manhole have been largely overcome. 

Simple to install in less than ten minutes, the CatsEye II Pixel has been designed to run with a low power requirement and has a typical battery life of over seven years with normal use.

UDlive is also working with Public Sewer Services; one of the key partners in the Anglian Water WRN (Water Recycling Networks) Alliance. The WRN manages the maintenance and repair of the Anglian Water sewage network. This includes the inspection, jetting, rodding and cleaning of pipes to keep services flowing, as well as proactive and emergency work on sewer blockages and repairs. The Alliance is also involved in larger infrastructure projects such as sewer and rising main repairs, manhole refurbishment and replacements, manhole chamber replacements and interceptor removal flooding mitigation.

UDlive’s role in the partnership is to develop remote continuous level and flow monitoring solutions for sewers. These monitors provide new levels of visibility; enabling higher levels of efficiency in sewer network management and asset maintenance work. For example, with the benefit of this data, Alliance partners are able to detect and resolve problems before they affect customers.

WWEM’s Smart Network Monitoring Award: Siemens

The Ofwat Innovation Fund aims to unleash a wave of innovation in the water sector and tackle some of the major challenges; delivering transformative benefits for consumers, society and the environment. One of the successful bids for funding from the Water Breakthrough Challenge came from the Treatment2Tap project, led by Northumbrian Water, with partners: Siemens, the University of Sheffield, Dŵr Cymru, South East Water, Scottish Water, Anglian Water, Intelisys Ltd, Syrinix Ltd, Advizzo Ltd and Bunt Planet SL.

The management of tap water quality is an increasing challenge due to ageing networks serving a growing population. Treatment-to-Tap will therefore demonstrate a step-change in the management of this issue, and establish the relationship between leakage and water quality. By the end of the project, Northumbrian Water will be operating Europe’s largest integrated network of water quality and leakage management sensors and analytics software – a smart network.

The consortium of partners will seek to define and validate best practice on how new insights can be built into proactive operations. A new business model template will then enable all water companies to see how they can share risk and scope with the supply chain to deliver at scale and pace for the least cost and best service to the customer.

WWEM’s Most Innovative Instrument, Product or Digital Solution Award: Detectronic

At this year’s WWEM exhibition, Detectronic’s LIDoTT Smart Sensor received the award for Most Innovative Instrument, Product or Digital Solution. At International Environmental Technology, we wanted to hear some more about the sensor and find out why Detectronic were interested in exhibiting at WWEM, so we chatted with Sales Manager Oliver Harrison.

“The LIDoTT Smart Sensor uses dual-sensor technology connected to a logging device that communicates via Cat-M1, 2g, 4g – whatever it may be. It’s designed to be installed approximately fifty to a hundred millimetres above the crown of the pipe. It monitors your dry-weather flow using an ultrasonic sensor and also measures any surcharge conditions, so you get a full range of data, from the invert of the pipe right up to the cover-level. When the water-level rises to reach a certain point, the sensor automatically switches from an ultrasonic to a pressure sensor, giving you accurate level-measurement data. The unit is connected to an external battery pack for ease of replacing. For some of the water utilities that have our sensor installed, its logging a two-minute sample-rate and communicates on an hourly basis, but even on that regime we still expect to get three to five years battery life out of the system. It was designed for predictive analytics within sewer networks, enabling users to see any kind of trend-analysis or any deviations from a typical trend. These measurements are then fed into analytical platforms, which is helping preventing blockages and flooding events.”

When we asked about why Detectronic chose to exhibit at WWEM, Oliver was to-the-point: “We’ve come to WWEM because it’s the largest wastewater exhibition in the UK, and we like to showcase our products at the largest wastewater exhibition in the UK!”

WWEM’s Best Supplier Service Award: PMA

On the second day of the show, we spoke to Tom Lendrem, Sales Director at PMA Ltd, about the project for which they won the award for Best Supplier Service.

“In partnership with Yorkshire Water, our raw water management and source selection project aimed at enabling a better understanding of source water around the Nidderdale area. Using s::can sensors distributed out in the catchment, Yorkshire Water can choose which source they’re going to treat in order to produce the highest possible water quality for their customers. We’ve been providing them with a lot of expertise on UV-Vis spectroscopy and getting accurate readings across multiple wavelengths, all to better understand the nature of the organics in the different sources. This is what their technical team needs in order to be able to choose the right source of water. We’re incredibly grateful to both Yorkshire Water and Northern Ireland Water for their nominations for the prestigious Best Supplier Service award.”

Finally, we asked Tom about the value of WWEM for a firm like PMA.

“PMA come to WWEM because it’s the best show for the water industry in the UK. We see all of our friends and competitors. A lot of our water utility customers come to WWEM, too, as it’s probably the only opportunity that they get to engage with all their suppliers in one go. So, for us, it’s a no-brainer to come.”

In 2024, WWEM will return bigger and better, graduating to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. For information on exhibiting at WWEM 2024, click here.


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