Air quality and water monitoring

Smart cities require smart environmental monitoring solutions

You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Smart cities should be able to rely on accurate, affordable, and intelligent air and water quality monitoring systems to safeguard a healthy living environment. And that’s exactly what Holst Centre’s sensor technology offers: smart solutions based on nano-electronics.

Our urbanised society has become more and more vulnerable when it comes to pollution and the spreading of diseases. In order to protect this fragile living environment we need intelligent monitoring systems to measure the quality of our air and water.

Air quality monitoring

Air pollution is one of the biggest problems and causes of death for our urbanised society. Air quality varies widely according to location or time of day. So you need to be able to take targeted actions instantly, to ensure that everyone breathes healthy air, all the time. That’s only possible if you can rely on a fine-grained and real-time air quality monitoring system. Unfortunately, current air quality sensors are either too expensive and bulky, or inaccurate.

Holst Centre’s real-time air quality monitoring approach uses low-cost, off-the-shelf sensors to extract raw data such as CO2, NO2 or particle matter levels. Sensor fusion and calibration algorithms transform those measurements into accurate data in the cloud. AI-based interpolation algorithms create real-time air quality maps and provide meaningful insights. Analysis and visualization software constructs an accessible integrated image that allows users or systems to take appropriate actions. After automatic calibration and interpolation, this data can be used to make deep analyses and draw a fine-grained real-time air quality map that acts as a digital twin to support smart city policies.

Healthy working environment

Poor indoor air quality is a threat to our health, comfort and productivity. Rising CO2 levels, for example, immediately reduce our ability to focus. Our technology portfolio allows you to develop an indoor air quality monitoring system based on low-cost sensors. Moreover, we have developed algorithms that make accurate fifteen-minute predictions of the air quality in a room.

In order to achieve a positive turning point in the vitality of the working person, founding partners Holst Centre, Fontys, TU/e, HTCE and Twice have set up the Workplace Vitality Hub at the High Tech Campus 85 in Eindhoven. Here the founders combine their extensive knowledge and experience - together with partners from the business world - to arrive at concrete, innovative and effective technological solutions for a vital working environment.

Real-time air quality monitoring for smart agriculture

Air quality is also a growing concern for farmers. They need to comply with regulations that limit emissions of harmful gases such as ammonia and NOx. By deploying low-cost, low-power air quality sensors in their fields – which could be powered by miniature solar panels – they can get real-time insights into the impact of their activities.

Smart water management

Processes such as climate change and salinization, as well as regulatory drivers, are pushing us to manage water supplies in a more intelligent way, based on smart technologies. At Holst Centre we have applied our know-how of nanoelectronics to successfully develop an on-chip fluid sensor that is not only small, but above all durable, accurate and affordable. In fact, we believe this sensor is set to unleash a true revolution in water quality monitoring and management. It offers real-time insight into the precise levels of environmental threats such as salination, pesticides, heavy metals and pharmaceutical products. And the ability to make accurate decisions based on water quality, especially in times of water shortage. Our advanced sensor technology makes this possible. Now, a continuous digital water quality monitoring system has become feasible and affordable thanks to ground-breaking, on-chip sensing technology.

To leverage the full potential of such a system, technology facilitator Holst Centre is looking to collaborate with water utilities, labs, governmental institutions and related industry, to conduct pilot projects. The solutions that such collaboration will bring are set to revolutionize the water eco-system and sector in the Netherlands.