Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Technology paves the way for effectively mapping out pollution in the air we breathe

Posted on: 29/12/2020

To better support business innovation development in this sector, KTN organised two webinars on air quality sensing themes to facilitate knowledge sharing and partnership collaborations.

It is well known that air pollution poses a serious risk to human health, particularly to people who are already suffering from health problems such as asthma, COPD, and coronary heart disease, and is the main cause for over 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK.

Effective and real-time mapping of pollutions in the air we breathed has been a major challenge in air quality monitoring. In recent years a new class of low-cost air quality monitoring systems based on novel sensors made it possible for obtaining dynamic air pollution maps.

Recently, in partnership with South Coast Sciences, KTN hosted an Air Quality Monitoring (AQM) Technology event, consisting of two webinars on the 22nd July 2020 and the 5th August 2020, looking into the AQM challenges, technology development, and trend.

KTN is UK’s business innovation networking organisation with a key mission to connect innovators with new partners and new opportunities beyond their existing thinking to accelerate ambitious ideas into real-world solutions. South Coast Sciences is a company specialising in developing low-cost air-quality monitoring systems based on electrochemical sensors and particulate monitors, together with an open infrastructure for air quality data.

AQM Market Trend and Technology Development

At the first webinar of AQM Market Trend and Technology Development on 22nd July, two industry experts have been invited to give talks and share their knowledge and opinions with more than 130 event participants.

Brian Stacey, Knowledge Leader (Measurement Quality Assurance and Quality Control) at Ricardo, reviewed air quality issues and the history, regulatory compliance, and the sensing technology developments in a talk entitled as “Air quality Monitoring – Development and Trend”. He also discussed the challenges and potential future development.

Tony Bush, Founder of Apertum shared his knowledge on air quality policy and compliance matters in the UK and EU and potential future progresses in a subsequent talk “Sensors in a changing air quality landscape”. He particularly discussed the lessons learned and future opportunities based on his 20 years of air quality compliance assessment experiences. He also touched on potential applications for sensor technologies in air quality monitoring, their pros and cons, and barriers in adaptation. Sensors performance and data quality, in-situ calibration, cost reduction and mobility of air quality monitoring system, and standardisation are the key focuses for future air quality monitoring system development.

Obtaining High Quality Data from Low-cost AQM Systems

The second webinar on the 5th August focussed on the data quality challenges in the low-cost air quality monitoring systems. In this webinar, two further industry experts were invited to share their knowledge and expertise on methods and technologies used in the industry for obtaining high-quality data from low-cost air quality monitoring systems.

Ronan Baron, Technical Director at Alphasense, discussed the challenges of obtaining high quality and reliable data from the low-cost air quality monitoring systems which are often installed outdoor and exposed to an ambient harsh environment, and the technological solutions adopted in the industry. Specifically, he covered the practice of Alphasense in securing good quality sensor reading through using purposely developed calibrations practice on the gas sensors they supply to the industry.

In the following talk, Bruno Beloff, Founder of the South Coast Science, discussed methods used to protect the low-cost air quality monitoring system, key issues affecting the data quality of the system and the solutions, via hardware designs and also via software corrections. He specifically introduced software solutions developed in the South Coast Science to obtaining high-quality data readings from their low-cost air quality monitoring system through purposely developed open-air quality platform – a correction algorithms based software solution.

Find out more about our activity in the sensors sector here.

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