Some examples of the publicly funded projects our researchers are currently working on are summarised below.
H2OMon – In-situ Total Nutrient Analyser System for Natural Waters
Start Date: 1 November 2019 End Date: 31 October 2021
The H2OMon project will enable the rapid commercialisation of TelLab’s low-cost in-situ multi-parameter nutrient water pollutant monitoring system. It is funded under the European H2020 SME Instrument Phase 2 (Grant Agreement number: 880886) and TelLab is the sole participant.
The complexity, short deployment endurance and high cost of current in-situ monitoring systems make them unaffordable and impractical for many users to put into practice – especially true for small operations. The H2OMon integrated nitrate/phosphorous/ammonia all natural water monitoring system, is rooted in the clear market-pull caused by the industrial and domestic need to comply with increasingly tightly policed water nutrient pollution regulations, infringements of which carry heavy fines.
Our solution is a multi-parameter autonomous microfluidic device with in-situ calibration and high -frequency measurements over long deployment periods. Its in-built communication system and process control add-on enable the user to remotely monitor water quality in lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal zones; alerting them via immediate warning on the detection of a pollutant and enabling immediate action to be taken to limit environmental damage.
Life Ecosens Aquamonitrix – Enhanced Portable Sensor for
Water Quality Monitoring,moving to genuinely integrated
Water Resource Management
Start Date: 2 July 2018 End Date: 31 March 2021
This project consolidates research outputs from previous R&D projects carried out by TelLab to demonstrate & bring to market a novel water quality monitoring integrated solution to meet the requirements for frequent water quality monitoring under the Water Framework Directive.
The consortium, led by TelLab is made up of the Finnish company, Kemira, the Spanish companies, LKS Ingeneria and ISEA, the Spanish university Unversidad Catolica San Antonio de Murcia as well as the Universidade Nova de Lisboa from Portugal. Various water companies/authorities are also participating from Spain and Finland as project collaborators, e.g. the Bilbao Water Consortium which will make their facilities available for carrying out tests on the water quality sensor. this project is funded under the European Life Programme (Grant Agreement number: LIFE 17 ENV/IE/000237).
Holifab Project –Holistic digital-to-physical prototyping and production
pilot for microfluidic MEMS
Start Date: 1 Nov 2017 End Date: 30 April 2021
Summary of Project:
This project is funded under H2020 – INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP – Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Nanotechnologies (Grant agreement number: 760927). It aims at a holistic new design strategy, coordinated pilot lines and business model for the prototyping, fabrication and commercialization of polymer-based microfluidic systems. It stems from the recognition that a microfluidic chip is a key part of a microfluidic MEMS, but only a part. Many limitations to fast prototyping, industrialization and ultimate performances lie not in the chip itself, but in the world-to-chip connections and integration of multiple external components. We shall address in a single strategy the streamlined construction of whole microfluidic systems, starting from existing pilot lines in injection moulding, 3D printing and instrument construction.
First, the resolution of 3D printing will be increased by a factor at least 10, down to 1~3μm, with a throughput 10 to 100x higher than that of current high resolution 3D printing machines, to support the flexible production of chips with complex 3D architectures. New soft, bio, environment-friendly and/or active materials will be integrated in the production chain using a technology patented by the partners. Large-scale markets requiring mass production at the lowest cost will be addressed by a fully integrated pilot line, streamlining injection moulding of raw chips, reagents and components integration, sealing and quality control. Intercompatibility between 3D printing and injection moulding, regarding architectures and materials, will be developed to accelerate the prototype to product value chain. After development and upscaling, the technology will be demonstrated and qualified in operational environment by end-users with lab-on-chip applications in health (cancer diagnosis, organ-on chip) and environment (water control).
TelLab will demonstrate environmental applications of the prototype devices with deployments in the field, and will perform validation through evaluation against comparative techniques in the TelLab ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.
For more details regarding the project and our partners, please go to the Holifab website.
Optimised self-calibrating microfluidic systems for in-situ environmental monitoring
Start Date: 05 December 2016; End Date: 31 May 2020
PhD Student: Nile Quane
Nile has a first class BSc (Hons) in Physics with Biomedical Sciences from Dublin City University. In DCU, Nile’s final year project was based on design optimisation of microfluidic platforms using CFD simulations, supervised by the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute.
Summary of Project:
The research is a joint venture between T.E. Laboratories and Lancaster University. Water analysis testing is typically completed using manually obtained samples sent for laboratory analysis. This is both infrequent and laborious. In-situ sensors are becoming increasingly common in environmental monitoring due to their ease of deployment, more frequent testing and regulatory pressure such as the EU Water Framework Directive. Some issues in long-term sensor deployment include cost, sensor lifetime and data quality over the deployment period. Frequent servicing is infeasible for numerous deployed sensors, particularly where these are in hard-to-reach or otherwise inaccessible locations. Nile’s PhD looks at adaptation of the company’s Aquamonitrix device to improve sensor quality and deployment time.