AQUARIUS (Broadband Tunable QCL Based Sensor for Online and Inline Detection of Contaminants in Water)

Acronym: AQUARIUS
Duration: 01.01.2017 – 31.12.2019
Total cost: € 3 891 263.75
EU contribution: € 3 891 263.75

Project assumptions:

AQUARIUS proposes development of a breakthrough method for detecting water pollution by using MIR quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). It is motivated by:

  • the EC Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) where hydrocarbons are identified as priority hazardous
    substances,
  • the industrial and regulatory need for fast and continuous detection of contaminants,
  • the current state-of-the-art on substances’ measurement using QCLs as defined by project partner QuantaRed Technologies and described in ASTM D7678.

Project objective:

Currently, classical research methods are used to control water pollution. Samples collected on site are transported to the laboratory where a number of tests are carried out. AQUARIUS will improve this offline method by developing pervasive online and inline sensing strategies based on advanced photonic structures. For improved specificity a broadly tunable MOEMS based μEC-QCL source will be developed into a core spectrometer. High power, mode-hop free operation and unprecedentedly fast data acquisition will assure high S/N-ratios and thus high sensitivity.

The system for online sensing will be validated by OMV project partner for process and waste water monitoring. It will also be tested for identifying different sources of contaminations by KWR project partner in their water treatment and purification facilities.

The system for inline sensing will be based on integrated optical circuits (IOC) including waveguides for evanescent wave sensing. Switching between individual MKOI waveguides will enable quasi-simultaneous sample and background measurement and thus assure excellent longterm stability.

AQUARIUS covers the supply chain from research institutes to system integrator and end users. It will push the online system from TRL 3 to 7 and the inline system from TRL 2 to 4 and thus reinforce the industrial leadership of the project partners regarding QCL based liquid sensing and photonic components (source, detector and IOCs).

Applications:

By exploiting the online analyser for industrial water monitoring the first targeted users will be from petrochemical industry as their main business is the exploration and refining of. As the level of automation increases, the sensors application in the manufacturing and industrial segment exhibits higher deployment and use possibilities. Increasingly, sensors are deployed to ensure higher production, control wastages, and reduce down-time in the manufacturing sector. Within this focus market potential customers include 750 offshore oil platforms (produced water discharge), 3.500 field laboratories (produced water reinjection), 1.000 refineries (50% are recycling the water from process stream outlets) and 2.000 from further oil-processing-industry (e.g. lubricants industry).

The second major market will be water treatment and purification (including the environmental water monitoring) and drinking water supply. The total available market for water pollution will be of $3.5 billion in 2019 and that for water pollution control is valued as of $2.7 billion with annual growth rates of 5.2%.

On the long term food production can be addressed which is highly reliant on high-quality water resources. Together with the application of inline OiW sensors along the water supply chain the target market (considering multiple use at site) includes 6.000 compact sensors. Based on an estimation 1200 sensors/year can become available within 10 years after the end of the project.

VIGO System’s participation:

VIGO System is responsible for development of the optimized detector and designing dedicated electronics for fast, low noise amplification of detector signals. The detector will be integrated with electronics into the detection module.

An analog to digital data conversion system with MSamples/second conversion rate will be developed. High speed sampling synchronization with pulsed laser operation will be realized with a powerful FPGA system, integrating fast static RAM memory to store and process samples.

Companies associated in the consortium:

TECHNIKON FORSCHUNGS- UND PLANUNGSGESELLSCHAFT MBH (TEC) – Austria

QUANTARED TECHNOLOGIES GMBH (QRT) – Austria

FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V. (Fraunhofer) – Germany

OMV EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION GMBH (OMV) – Austria

VIGO SYSTEM S.A. (VIGO) – Poland

INTERUNIVERSITAIR MICROELECTRONICA CENTRUM IMEC VZW (IMEC) – Belgium

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET WIEN (TU Wien) – Austria

KWR WATER B.V. (KWR) – Netherlands

More information:

https://twitter.com/aquarius_h2020

https://aquarius-project.eu/

https://www.facebook.com/Aquarius-2016358345254577/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/aquarius-project-8a7144133/

https://aquarius-project.eu/downloads/AQUARIUS-Newsletter-Issue1.pdf