Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have designed an intelligent sensor system which enables the immediate detection and delineation of toxic waste, diesel and hydrocarbons in water.
Jaime Lloret from UPV’s Research Institute for Integrated Management of Coastal Areas, says chemical pollutants require different cleanup techniques. But the most important factor for minimizing damage to the natural environment, human health and the economy is speed of detection. This is particularly important in the case of oil spills.
The smart system is able to detect and track very small concentrations of chemical pollutants, and map out their precise location and spread. It is based on an intelligent algorithm and is embedded in small floating devices. It consists of wireless nodes that use the real-time data collected via their hydrocarbon sensors and their relative positions to seek out the edges of the spill, the point where it meets non-contaminated water. To date, it has been tested under laboratory conditions, only.