A high capacity, automatic and small-volume water sampler

  • Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
  • From Luxembourg
  • Responsive
  • Innovative Products and Technologies

Summary of the technology

The new sampler is portable, has low power consumption and is suited for field deployment. It collects small water volume samples, including the possibility of collecting different volumes simultaneously (2-40 mL). As it uses standard laboratory containers that can be directly transferred from the field for analyses in the laboratory, the processing time of the samples is significantly reduced. The device has a large storage capacity of up to 400 samples in its configuration with smaller containers (2 mL). The containers are systematically sealed and the samples are filtered to separate the particulate and dissolved phases. This prevents evaporation and extends sample preservation times. Similarly, tub rinsing between successive sample collections prevents potential contamination and memory effects. The sampler can also be controlled remotely.

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

Details of the Technology Offer

Background:

Field deployable and portable automatic water samplers allow the unattended collection of water samples from water bodies (e.g., rivers, lakes and water reservoirs). They can be programmed to sample at predetermined times or be triggered by external sensors – not only reducing personnel labour and costs, but also allowing sampling in remote places. Once collected, the water samples are subsequently analysed in a laboratory.

In situ analyzers (i.e., devices capable of measuring a specific water parameter continuously when submerged in water) are at hand for measuring some specific parameters (e.g., turbidity and nitrates). However, as this type of in situ deployed devices are not capable of measuring all water quality parameters, sampling in the field and subsequent analysis in the laboratory remain as a major impediment. Moreover, laboratory analyses are also needed for benchmarking against in situ instrument drift, cross-checks for detecting unreliable readings, and as backup measurements.

Designed in the 1980s, the currently still commercialized samplers have a limited storage capacity (e.g., 24 samples) and collect large volumes of water (i.e. 500-1000 mL). However, with the improvement of chemical analytics, large sample volumes are often no longer required. Here, we present a new water sampler that overcomes the limitations of the currently commercialized samplers by improving both the storage capacity and sample preservation.

Benefits:

According to our experience and interviews of clients and suppliers, none of the existing automatic water samplers fulfils the current needs of customers that can be summarized as follows:

  • Our device has a large storage capacity (up to 400 samples).
  • It collects small volume samples, including the possibility for collecting different volumes simultaneously (e.g., 2-40 mL).
  • It uses standard containers that can be deposited in the laboratory for direct analysis.
  • It uses sealed containers to prevent evaporation.
  • Its samples can be filtered to separate the particulate and dissolved phases for a longer preservation.
  • Its sampling tube is rinsed between sample collection to prevent contamination and memory effects.
  • It can be controlled remotely.
  • It comes with a friendly user interface.

Applications:

The targeted market is diverse:

(i) Hydrologists (scientists investigating the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of the earth's underground and surface waters), currently use automatic water samplers for their research activities in the field. Water samples are then analyse in the laboratory as to determine qualitative aspects (e.g. anions, cations, pH, total alkalinity, dissolved silica, trace element composition, etc.).

(ii) environmental monitoring agencies, mainly use automatic water samplers for missions related to water quality. The presented sampler could be used in short or long term monitoring programmes of surface water in streams, rivers, lakes, sources or water reservoirs.

(iii) Wastewater treatment plants and drinking water firms could potentially be interested in using the presented automatic water sampler as to routinely store samples for control of data collected with sensing technologies (i.e. in situ measuring probes) and/or to store back up samples for longer periods of time. even if they commonly rely on accredited procedures.

(iV) Additional niche markets are industries managing recycling water for industry operations (cleaning, cooling, surface treatment, etc.), where the automatic water sampler could be used for process control.

Opportunity:

We are looking for a company/industrial partner that will be interested in fine-tuning the prototype and bringing it to the market (licensing). We are open to discuss other opportunities.

IP Status:

LIST filed a priority patent to the Luxembourg Intellectual Protection Office (n° LU100486). We received the first search report from the European Patent Office the 22nd July 2018. At the end of October 2018, we decided to protect our invention internationally through a PCT application. Through a PCT letter, we submitted additional information to complete the description part of the priority patent and replied to the main arguments of the examination in April 2019. We are now waiting for the effects of the split of the priority application in the different countries/regions.

Companies of interest:

Companies commercializing water monitoring equipment.

Desired business relationship

Technology development

Licensing

Attached documents

Related Keywords

  • Measurement Tools
  • Water Management
  • Industrial Water Treatment
  • Municipal Water Treatment
  • Water Resources Management
  • Sustainability
  • Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems

About Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a mission-driven Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) active in the fields of materials, environment and IT.
LIST develops competitive and market-oriented product/service prototypes for public and private stakeholders, and works across the entire innovation chain: fundamental/applied research, incubation, transfer of technologies.
By transforming scientific knowledge into technologies, smart data and tools, LIST empowers citizens in their choices, public authorities in their decisions and businesses in their strategies.

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

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