Nimbus Centre Water Research Projects

The Nimbus Centre has a specialised Water division known as the ‘Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre’ (WSSIC).

There are many water projects in progress at the Nimbus Centre focused on innovation and development for technology in the water industry.  These projects have been awarded funding through both the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund and through The Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre (WSSIC). WSSIC is a joint CIT/Cork City Council/Cork County Council initiative to develop a centre for water related technologies and systems. It has been operating for nearly 2 years and has now moved into its second phase of expansion.  Of the 70 people in the Nimbus centre about 10 are involved in water projects. The Nimbus Centre is always looking for new opportunities to support technology development in this sector to are expanding their network and project portfolio.

 

Some of our current Water Projects

Aquamonitor, in partnership with Faaltech

Aquamonitor is a project funded through the EI Commercialisation Fund. The project endeavours to create a monitoring system for critical nutrients in aquatic environments of varying scales. The three platforms for deployment of the system in the aquatic market include: the home aquarium enthusiast, indoor fish farms and a large scale buoy based system for river and sea applications. The initial monitoring parameters which are common to each platform include temperature, pH and ammonia. These can be supplemented through the integration of the facilities to sense a suite of approximately 18 parameters which are sought after by relevant industries (phenols, dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, potassium for instance). Refex Sensors, a Mayo based company are supplying the pH sensors. The ammonia sensor is being developed at CIT between Nimbus, Cappa and the Chemistry Department. A fluorescence-based Eosin dye immobilised in polystyrene is currently being tested.  This platform will be integrated with optical and electronic hardware to give an optical ammonia sensor.  There is an explicit market need for a low-cost, efficient ammonia sensor.  This project incorporates a suite of The electronics, wireless capabilities, firmware and software developed by Nimbus.

 Technology for mitigation of Fats, Oils and Greases in public water

This is a commercialisation fund project being undertaken with support from both Dynorod (in the form of advice and potential trialling), and Cork City and County Councils (in the form of end-user interest). The goal of the project is to design a monitoring system to measure the volume of fats, oils and greases (FOGs) in the installed grease traps of restaurants, cafes etc. The collection and proper disposal of FOGs is a highly problematic area and requires costly intervention from companies such as Dynorod, as well as input from council engineers and staff to remove pipe blockages that occur.  Under current legislation, greasetraps must be emptied four times a year, regardless of usage. This results in excessive charges to the proprietor for prematurely empting traps which are not full, or conversely operating with full, therefore ineffective traps. Mismanagement of FOGs and incorrect disposal is the single most significant area for pipe blockages from food-related industry. The device designed during this project will be the first of its kind on the market, allowing for measurement of the quantity of FOGs in the trap and the having the ability to send alerts when the trap is full. This will allow Nimbus to develop a solution which will also remedy the incorrect disposal of FOGs material and allow for a better system for overall management with respect to resources and the environment.

Remote Monitoring of District Metered Areas

This Commercialisation project is supported by Cork City and County Councils. The objective is to provide a low-cost monitoring system which can be deployed in rural DMAs and water treatment plants. Systems are based on webcam networking with bespoke vision systems software to identify, for example, the dial of an analogue meter entering the “red zone”. The development of the smaller projects completed with the WSSIC emphasises the networking capability and expertise of the Nimbus Centre.

Remote Supervision of multiple small sites

Due to the remote location of many pump-houses across rural Ireland, maintenance and routine checking can be a time-consuming process, where an operative must drive to each location and inspect the flow-rate, chlorine monitoring, pressure etc.  Our system placed a webcam in a test site and sent real-time images back to the Council’s server which allows a staff member to check easily and frequently.  The system sends information via 3G to a website designed specifically for this purpose.

Workflow Management

The councils around Ireland have individual processes for workflow management, with little apparent cohesion across different authorities.  We designed a more suitable and efficient workflow arrangement for Cork City Council to be adopted over time by the council, and investigated technologies on the market which may be appropriate for council engineers, foremen and operatives to use on-site.

Centralised Data Acquisition System for DMAs

District Metered Areas, of which there are 48 in Cork City, contain legacy data loggers which are interrogated once per day over a phone line for operational data.  The aim in this project was to design and develop a cost effective system to acquire and visualise data from multiple devices located at various sites. The system gathers data from District Metered Areas, via a board designed in-house, and stores them on a centralised server, enabling this data to be visualised via web browser.  Effectively, Nimbus will design a visualisation network for the collection of data from multiple sites. This project is a prime example of the embedded technologies capability at Nimbus.

This innovation initiative is led by Kevin Fitzgibbon, Water Co-ordinator. Kevin.Fitzgibbon@cit.ie 021 433 5095021 433 5095