Better Water Quality: Toxic Algae Got No Chance
Science

Better Water Quality: toxic algae got no chance

With a multi sensor system and hyper-spectral cameras, lakes and rivers can be soon fully monitored. Then, the high nutrient concentrations, which proliferate the algae can be detected without time verse delay so that countermeasures can be taken.

Sewage treatment plants not make it often, to remove all nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates from waste water. You land, as well as fertilizer, which distribute farmers on their fields too generously, in rivers, lakes and eventually into the sea. It is too much a fatal cycle begins: cyanobacteria, better than blue-green algae is known, begin to proliferate wildly. Oxygen, which then is missing the other living beings to escape the water. And to make matters worse, they produce more toxins that make the waterworks problems. Such a development is often so late recognized that countermeasures are no longer effective. The reason is, that water can not completely be monitored.

Sun and wind will provide power for the sensors

That should change now. Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) develop a monitoring system that constantly monitors the quality of waters electronics in the the biotechnology company together with the sensor specialists ADM from Schwentinental (Kiel).

It determines on the surface and in various deep parameters such as temperature, oxygen concentration, algae content and greenhouse gases. The data are transmitted wirelessly in a monitoring center. The buoy is powered with solar energy or wind power. Remote control, also water samples for further tests in the laboratory can be used.

“Enormous social significance”

“A good condition of our waters is of enormous importance,” says Andreas Holbach, which coordinated the joint research project “Waquavid” together with Professor Stefan Norra at KIT. “In particular, the blooms of cyanobacteria can release dangerous toxins for people and the environment”. So far, the monitoring of waters with a variety of independently operating sensors takes place. This hinders and slow down an integrated data evaluation to Norra.

Multisenor measuring buoy plus hyper-spectral cameras

The deep profiling multi-sensor measuring buoy, as the developers call their device, monitored only a limited range. To get information about the State of large water surfaces hyper spectral cameras should be used, located on Board of aircraft, drones and satellites.

You record light reflections are created when the surface to be examined with flashes of laser is fired at. Depending on the ingredients of water, a part of the light is swallowed or altered in its frequency. It can be, combined with the data provided by the measuring buoy, water quality, also the regions where pollutants are initiated.

Another KIT researchers team has developed along the lines of floating ferns a material that does not absorb water, but large amounts of oil. Then, the Nano fur can be easily fish – with its cargo of oil out of the water.