Sparv Embedded is helping Linköping University to integrate a high precision CH4 (methane) sensor from Aeris Technologies with the Sparvio system. The sensor has an unprecedented CH4 resolution for its size, measuring variations smaller than one ppb (parts per billion). This is more than enough to map background levels, around 2 ppm. To use the same unit, the sensor measures at 0.0001 ppm resolution. After we adapted the sensor for UAV use, the payload weighs in at 1.8 kg. This is light enough to be flow around 10 minutes with a fairly small quadcopter. If given more attention, the weight could be pushed down a lot more.
This offers an exciting possibility for more convenient sampling of methane, a gas with a greenhouse effect 84 times stronger than carbon dioxide when counted over 20 years after releasing the gas into the atmosphere. In spite of this, methane emissions are still largely ignored by industries and regulation. Can more measurements help to raise awareness of the environmental importance of methane?
The picture below is from the preparations for a demo on May 15th. It shows a quadcopter hovering with the white Aeris sensor attached underneath. The quadcopter also carries a Sparvio sensor system that synchronizes data from Aeris with readings from an ultrasonic wind sensor, GPS and other sensors. Sparvio logs all data and transmits it to a ground station to visualize on a map in real-time. In the end, the combination of all data will be used to calculate not only the location of methane emission sources, but also the quantity of gas flow.
Sampling in watercourses is an activity that today isn’t easy, but very important. You need to bring a boat on bad forest roads and spend a lot of time on logistics. It is not only hard and time-consuming to perform, but also expensive. Sparv Embedded is part of a team to come up with a UAV-based solution to make these samplings easier, faster and cheaper. We use the flexible sensor system Sparvio and contribute our knowledge from working on UAV sensor solutions over the past few years. The pictures are from a demo performed on May 14th in Västervik, Sweden. At the demo, we flew a quadcopter over a lake, descending twice to allow the hanging payload to collect water samples at two different points. The samples can then be analyzed as usual in a lab.
In the next step, we will also directly measure temperature, pH, conductivity and most importantly oxygen levels. The data will be visible in real-time to the operator, allowing on-the-spot exploration of variations in water quality. This would be useful to map plumes of emissions, for example in case of chemical spills. Where a deviation is discovered, the drone could take a water sample for further analysis.
We have had the pleasure to be visited by KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) representatives this week for a workshop on developing their novel NO2 sensor. We had a very productive workshop on practical design, measurement principles, project planning and also touching on eventual business ventures.
NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide) has a strong negative health effect. Due to a degradation time measured in minutes or hours and the low background levels, NO2 is a clear indicator of nearby pollution. The gas is almost exclusively produced from combustion, making the sources easy to pinpoint. This makes sampling NO2 suitable to make detailed maps of urban pollution.
With a resolution around 1 ppb and response time 1 second, the KNMI NO2 sensor has a unique level of performance considering the weight and price. Once fully developed, this will enable mobile measurements of this important gas.
Here is our overview of the work needed to develop a sensor from idea to product. The text is based on the experience of Sparv Embedded, but is valid for any project.
Path to sensor commercialization
Please get back to us if you have any thoughts or inputs.
Sparv Embedded will exhibit the MTWE event this year in Amsterdam: http://windsond.com/982/
All the best,
It has been some time since we made any updates on this page. Please read about the latest updates on development: http://windsond.com/sparv-development-update/.
All the best,
It was an excellent expo in Madrid. Sparv have met a lot of interests, and now we have received great news regarding our latest development Sparv Sensors. Please read more: Grant for Sparv Sensors (swedish text)