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

Acronym: AQUARIUS
Duration: 01.01.2017 – 31.12.2020
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.

 

Objectives:

AQUARIUS proposes disruptive improvements in laser based water sensing employing 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 and

– the current state-of-the-art of measuring these substances using QCLs as defined by project partner QuantaRed Technologies and described in ASTM D7678.

 

Goal:

Nowadays water pollution is controlled using classical research methods. Samples collected on site are transported to the laboratory where they undergo a series of tests. 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. For better specificity, a MOEMS-based broad tunable μEC-QCL source will be developed for the 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 project partner OMV for process and waste water monitoring. It will also be tested for identifying different sources of contaminations by project partner KWR 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 waveguides of the IOC will enable quasi-simultaneous sample and background measurement and thus assure excellent long-term 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).

 

Application:

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 hydrocarbons. As the level of automation increases, the sensors application in the manufacturing and industrial segment exhibits higher deployment and use. 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 main market will be water treatment and purification (including the environmental water monitoring) and the drinking water supply. The total available market for water pollution will be $3.5 billion in

2019 and that for water pollution control is valued as $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 participation:

Vigo System is responsible for creating an optimized detector and designing dedicated electronics for fast low amplification of its signals. The detector will be integrated with the electronics in the detection module.

An analog to digital data conversion system with 20 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