Completed Projects

Inspiration – Managing soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification

Start Date: 1 April 2016 ; End Date: 31 March 2020

Summary of Project:

Inspiration was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) funded Innovative Training Network (ITN) (Grant Agreement Number: 675120). Agriculture is vital to Europe’s prosperity. However, while agricultural production in Europe has significantly increased food security it has also damaged soil and water resources and ecosystem biodiversity and contributed to climate change.

Further intensification of production to support population growth must be sustainable to minimise future environmental impacts and negative externalities.

Sustainability is critically underdeveloped in European farming practices. However, it can reduce the environmental impacts of commercial-scale farming in Europe and increase the productivity of poor quality land in urban and industrialised areas, which may be contaminated. This offers huge opportunities to restore degraded land to re-use, return this asset to communities, ensure local food supply and increase the agricultural capacity of urban land, otherwise unsuitable for commercial-scale farming. It contributes to food security, by reducing the need for new land elsewhere. This is possible in many European cities, outlying areas and peripheral rural environments.

Addressing this challenge and improving Europe’s soil and water resources for future agricultural use requires innovative sustainable management concepts, which must consider environmental, technical, social and economic factors. Decision-making frameworks and predictive tools must also be developed to implement sustainable agricultural practices and devise measures to mitigate impacts. These approaches must be developed from the farm- to catchment-scale within European agricultural landscapes. This requires an integrated analysis represented in the INSPIRATION (managing soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification) project.

TelLab’s contribution:

TelLab hosted and supervised an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) as part of Work Package 4, Mitigation of soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture using mixed waste media. The ESR has identified various suitable locally-sourced raw/waste materials (nutrient rich) which are safe to recycle back onto land and be used as fertiliser. The ESR continues her PhD after the project end.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to the Inspiration website

AtlantOS – Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic 

Ocean Observing System                                                                                       

Start Date:  1 April 2015; End Date: 30 September 2019

Summary of Project:

The vision of AtlantOS was to improve and innovate Atlantic observing by using the Framework of Ocean Observing to obtain an international, more sustainable, more efficient, more integrated, and fit-for-purpose system contributing to the Trans-Atlantic Research Alliance, the GEO (Group on Earth Observations) global initiative Blue Planet, and GOOS (Global Ocean Observing Systems). The AtlantOS initiative will have a long-lasting and sustainable contribution to the societal, economic and scientific benefit arising from this integrated approach, achieved by improving the extent, completeness, quality and ease of access to Atlantic Ocean data required by industries, product supplying agencies, scientist and citizens.

TelLab’s contribution:

The R & D Department were partners in Work Package 6 Cross-cutting issues and emerging networks. TelLab worked closely with the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton who is the leader of this Work Package.

The aim of this Work Package was to enhance Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (IAOOS) capabilities to sample water and particles for biological and (meta)genomic analysis, through sensor development and TelLab’s main contribution was in the development of a marine sampler.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to the AtlantOS website.

ACTTiVAte Project – support for innovative

SMEs                                                        

Start Date: 1 Dec 2017   End Date: 31 Jan 2018

This project was supported by the ACTTiVAte project consortium and was financed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Program under Grant Agreement 691473. It supported innovative SMEs to enable the emergence of new cross-border and cross-sectoral value chains through fostering technology transfer within four sectors with strong synergies: Aerospace, Agro-food, Health and ICT.  ACTTiVAte experts provided support through the provision of business support services such as training workshops, mentoring, brokerage events, mobility exchange programs and investment forums to ensure the innovative projects developed a marketable product.

Tellab’s aim was to combine three distinct technologies in an innovative way to produce a soil monitoring sampler for the agro-food industry.

For more details regarding the project and partners please go to http://acttivate.eu/

Marine sensors for the 21st Century

Start Date: 1 October 2013 ; End Date: 30 September 2017

Summary of Project:

SenseOCEAN brought together world leading marine sensor developers to create a highly integrated multifunctional and cost-effective in situ marine biogeochemical sensor system. The marine environment plays an essential role in the earth’s climate as well as providing resources, recreational opportunities and acting as a vital transportation route. However, the inherent vastness of the oceans means that our ability to monitor the health of this important system remains limited.

This project provided a quantum leap in the ability to measure crucial biogeochemical parameters. Innovations were combined with state of the art sensor technology to produce a modular sensor system that can be deployed on many platforms. Prototypes were optimised for scale-up and commercialisation.

TelLab’s contribution:

TelLab’s main involvement was in Work Package 1 Development of Core Technologies, where we were working on achieving cost savings, by leading the development of a cassette-based reagent / standard pack that can be replaced by the user (even in the field). This directly addressed the complexity and cost of the existing state of the art microfluidic systems. We were also involved in the Exploitation and Dissemination tasks of the project.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to http://www.senseocean.eu/

Next Generation Analytical Platforms for Environmental Sensing 

Start Date: 1 December 2013 ; End Date: 31 May 2017  

Summary of Project:

This project investigated ways to deliver revolutionary advances in liquid/sample handling combined with new approaches to performing sensitive in situ analytical measurements. The goal of the project was to drive down the unit cost of these instruments by orders of magnitude to levels that can create a tipping point, at which the technology becomes ubiquitous.

PROJECT OUTCOMES:

Development of novel technologies that will contribute significantly to the realisation of next generation autonomous analytical instruments for distributed environmental monitoring.

New services based on the information generated by these instruments in real deployment scenarios.

Photoactuated polymer valve structures fully integrated within microfluidic channels.

Highly sensitive detector integrated with microfluidics sample preparation.

Photocontrolled functions such as filtering, preconcentration, uptake and release, surface activation/passivation.

TelLab’s contribution:

TelLab, as the leader of Work Package 3 “Sampling and Pre-concentration,”  focused on the development of a portable pre-concentration method for analytes using reverse osmosis, e.g. Ammonia, Phosphate, Nitrate, Nitrite, Iron, Manganese. Potentially this system can be used where the concentration of analytes is lower than the Limits of Detection.

TelLab was also the leader of Work Package 8 “Deployment of systems” where we were responsible for the deployment of prototypes. Additionally we were involved in all dissemination and exploitation activities.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to http://www.napes.eu/

Cost-effective sensors, interoperable with international existing

ocean observing systems to meet EU policy  requirements.

Start Date:  1 November 2013; End Date: 28 February 2017   

Summary of Project: 

This project aimed to develop integrated and effective data acquisition systems by developing innovative sensors, interoperable with international existing ocean observing systems to meet EU marine policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Common Fisheries Policy. 

TelLab’s contribution:

TelLab’s main involvement was in the following Work Packages (WPs):

  • WP 2 Integrated basis for cost-effective sensors development
  • WP 5 Sensors for in-situ monitoring of Eutrophication
  • WP 7 Sensors for in-situ monitoring of heavy metals

Our tasks included extensive laboratory testing and comparing of reference samples with the sensor results. We were also involved in the dissemination and exploitation of the project through attendance at Trade Shows and conferences. 

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to http://www.commonsenseproject.eu/

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poolsafeA novel swimming pool water treatment for the detection and elimination of excess cyanuric acid

Start Date: 1 July 2014 End Date:  30 June 2016

Summary of Project:

Poolsafe’s aim was the development of an effective and efficient solution to the cyanuric acid (CYA) problem, prevalent in swimming pools, through the development of a soft sensor to monitor the levels of CYA and other pool water quality parameters, as well as a simple, cost-effective method for degrading excess CYA, using photocatalysis.

Through the development of the novel sensor and the degradation of CYA, POOLSAFE reduces the environmental impact of swimming pool maintenance by eliminating the need to periodically replace the pool water, providing improved water quality and safety to bathers.

TelLab’s contribution:

TelLab led the Dissemination and Exploitation Work Package which included the preparation of an Exploitation Plan for the use of project results, the management of the background and foreground Intellectual property related to the project and the preparation of a Dissemination Plan. As part of the Dissemination Plan, TelLab was responsible for the creation and updating of the project website, Linked in and Twitter pages, attendance at trade fairs and the creation of a commercial brochure.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to http://www.poolsafeweb.com/

Water Network Sensors for Widespread Use

Start Date: 1 September 2013 End Date: 29 February 2016

Summary of Project:

The Widesens project aimed to develop an innovative probe based on microelectronic sensors to achieve a feasible widespread use of sensors in water networks management.

The Widesens probe has been completed and it currently measures:

  • pH 4,5-10,5
  • Conductivity 0-3000 μS/cm 
  • Redox-potential 100-400 mV 
  • Free Chlorine 0-1.2 mg/l
  • Pressure 0-10 bars

These parameters have demonstrated to be crucial for the evaluation of the quality of the water supply and for leak detection. Importantly, WIDESENS uses a low energy autonomous telemetry system and a user-friendly software application that can provide reports and trending data.

TelLab’s contribution:

The R & D team worked on the validation and testing of the Widesens system in a laboratory setting and also in real life environments; real life testing was performed at TelLab´s premises in the internal water circuit of the building and in the water network of the city of La Coruña. TelLab was the Dissemination Manager for the project which included the setting up of the website, the production of a video at the end of the project and the attendance at European and International Trade Shows.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to http://www.widesens-project.eu/

aquawarnDeployable early warning pollution device for applications in water

Start Date:  1 December 2013 End Date: 30 November 2015

Summary of Project:

The aim was to develop a portable, deployable early warning pollution device using state-of-the-art microfluidic and lab on a chip technologies for water quality protection. Based on market research, it was identified that the water sector needed an affordable, real-time monitoring device to improve the detection of pollution incidents. The device was developed to detect phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, and pH.

The consortium was made up of six partners in total: two academic partners and four small/ medium enterprises (SME) partners including TelLab.

TelLab’s contribution:

As coordinators of the project, TelLab was involved in all Work Packages of this project with a key emphasis on the development of the analytical chemistry techniques used to detect the analytes of phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, and pH.

Development of an effective exploitation and dissemination strategy was key in the success of this project and included attendance at many well attended European and international trade shows, e.g. Analytica and Arablab.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to: http://www.aquawarn.com/

Creating and testing a method for controlling the air quality based on a new biotechnological tool. Use of a devitalized moss clone as passive contaminant sensor

Start Date: 1 April 2012 End date: 31 March 2015

Summary of Project:

The aim of the MOSSCLONE project was to develop and implement a method to control the air quality by using a devitalized moss clone as a passive contaminant sensor.

The MOSSclone partners from universities, as well as small and medium enterprises situated across Europe, collaborated to develop a novel, precise and inexpensive method to monitor air contamination, especially heavy metals. MOSSclone was the cultivation of a peat moss under controlled laboratory conditions, on a large scale to produce a highly pure homogenous material. These moss plants were inactivated and the surface structures transferred to air-permeable bags under fabrication conditions. These moss-bags were then deployed in monitoring stations at a variety of different European locations and were assessed with regard to their capability to accumulate pollutants from the air.

Why Mosses?

Living plants are already in use as biological indicators as they take up and accumulate pollutants. Mosses are especially well suited as bio-indicators for airborne pollution as they have no roots and a very high surface-to-mass ratio.

TelLab’s contribution:

Our main tasks involved using the ICP-MS for monitoring heavy metals; the results obtained by the Mosspheres were compared with results obtained by particulate matter samplers, which have been the favoured approach to assessing ambient air quality.

With these results, the optimisation of deployment conditions was developed e.g.  length of deployment, type of bag or container for deployment, deployment height.

This project illustrated that Mosspheres can identify pollutants: metals e.g. Aluminium, Arsenic, beryllium, Calcium, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Nickel, Lead, Selenium, Vanadium, Zinc as well as Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and pesticides.  The Mosspheres can also identify pollutant emission pollutant maps.

TelLab were also involved in the exploitation and dissemination activities of this project.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to: http://www.mossclone.eu/

atwarmAdvanced Technologies for Water Resource Management

Start Date:    1 Dec 2009 End Date:  30 Nov 2013

Summary of Project:

ATWARM (Advanced Technologies for Water Resource Management) was a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the EC FP7 People Programme.

ATWARM had 7 Network Partners in the UK, Germany and Ireland, and was coordinated by the QUESTOR Centre at Queen’s University Belfast (UK).

The fundamental objective of the ATWARM ITN was to enhance the career prospects of 16 young researchers by providing them with greatly enhanced scientific and technical knowledge as well as multidisciplinary skills and business aptitudes that will contribute to security of water quality and quantity for future generations within the EU.

The main S&T objectives in the ATWARM proposal were to develop advanced technologies for enhancing:

performance and/or sustainability of water and wastewater treatment plants

water quality, including advanced technologies for analysis and monitoring.

Each ATWARM researcher carried out research on a specific project and was mentored by an appointed supervisor from one of the academic or industrial partners. Researchers were seconded to other Network Sites mid-way through their research project so that they would have a broader knowledge of the complete ATWARM scientific programme and its objectives.

The ATWARM project helped to move the industry forward. Each of the 16 participating researchers undertook a separate project – some in the development of technology which was quite close to market. Others worked on cutting-edge science and although this work was very much lab-based, this work also had excellent commercial potential.

TelLab’s contribution:

TelLab’s work included the development of a standard method for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) analysis to be used in environmental laboratories and industry.

The requirements were:

  • To meet European and national regulations
  • To be cost effective
  • To be applicable to different types of water (sea, waste, ground and surface-water)
  • To cover a wide range of hydrocarbons.

For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/ATWARM/