The research institute NILU is working on projects to measure air quality all over the world. So it’s important that the measuring equipment is accurate, and that it produces high quality measurements. NILU, together with Kjeller Innovasjon, is now launching a prototype that can measure air quality in places that require compact sensors.
Globally, the WHO estimates that every year 7 million people die prematurely because of poor air quality. In Europe, the figure is 432,000, of which 23,000 are in London.
A measurement station near you
When many measurement locations are required in an urban environment, we need large numbers of smaller sensors. The idea is to be able to measure air quality immediately – precisely where you live and work. When the NILU researchers embarked on a series of projects, they discovered that the results produced by the new small sensors currently on the market were nowhere near good enough. As part of the work to assess and test the accuracy and robustness of the sensors, they came up with ideas for adapting them to produce better data, and for using them in populated areas. This was how the project started, and later the company Innosense AS, owned by Kjeller Innovasjon and Innovation NILU, was founded. Kjeller Innovasjon is responsible for business development and commercialisation of the measuring devices.
Better support for policy makers
“By employing a high spatial density of small sensors that provide accurate, high-quality and verifiable measurements, it is now possible to supply information to local people and use these data to inform policy decisions on issues such as traffic regulation and the location of new schools and pre-school centres”, says Pål Midtlien Danielsen, who is Board Chair and acting Managing Director at Innosense.
“By using large numbers of small sensors, a more detailed overview and better information can be obtained”, he explains. Danielsen envisages that the technology will be of special interest to municipalities and the bigger consultant companies.
“By using compact devices, Innosense will be well-equipped to measure air quality in locations such as industrial parks, schools and pre-school centres”, says Danielsen.
Kjeller Innovasjon and Innovation NILU envisage that the product will be ideally suited to a market undergoing continuous development within the field of so-called Smart City technologies.
“The Smart City concept is all about using technologies and applications that contribute towards a better quality of life for urban populations. For example, in Oslo you’ll be able to find out on what days it will and won’t be a good idea to take a trip along the busy Ring 3 ring road”, explains Danielsen. “People will be able to make better health choices based on data about their environment”, he says.
His company is now working to advance the prototype in preparation for commercialising the results in the near future.
“We’ve applied for a patent and are developing a product for the market, so we’re currently testing the sensor platform over an extended period in Oslo municipality”, says Danielsen.
Better results: Senior engineers Stian Håland (left) and Torbjørn Heltne at NILU are developing a new technology that can measure the air pollution that affects our health and our lives.
- The Innosense project is a collaboration between Kjeller Innovasjon and Innovation NILU.
- To facilitate development of the prototype, the project has received funds via the Research Council of Norway’s FORNY programme.
- With Kjeller Innovasjon as project coordinator, combined with the technical expertise at NILU, a microsensor has been developed that supplies air quality data to Oslo and Sarpsborg municipalities.
- Both municipalities, together with Ericsson, are partners in the FORNY project.
- The aim of the Innosense AS is to become a global supplier of air quality data and information, and to contribute towards the creation of greener cities.