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3D Printing of coastal protection Reefs

The Albanian coastline has been declining in recent years due to coastal erosion and uncontrolled...

CENTAUR

Due to urban spread and more intense rainfall, water infrastructure is often unable to convey flows during rainfall leading to flash flooding and pollution. The usual response is to enlarge assets. However, in confined urban spaces, and with the move away from capital-hungry asset enlargement (“concrete-pouring”), there is a market gap for smart technology that leverages storage already available in networks. This is the gap that CENTAUR fills, at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.

Developed by Environmental Monitoring Solutions Ltd
CENTAUR is an autonomous, intelligent monitoring and control system to reduce urban escapes. It is modular, easily deployed (retrofit), and self-powered. It is deployed “out-of-the-box” without modification of the existing infrastructure. It is orders of magnitude less costly than alternative capital and space intensive solutions. The system provides “virtual storage”.

TRL6. Prototype system verified
Technology demonstrated in relevant environment. Representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond that of TRL 5, is tested in a relevant environment. Represents a major step up in a technology’s demonstrated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype in a high-fidelity laboratory environment or in a simulated operational environment. CENTAUR has been developed from prototype through beta to a “zero” version with certifications. A beta version has been protecting a World Heritage Site in Coimbra since October 2017; it has proved very reliable – there have been no maintenance visits – and fit for market rollout. A further trial system has recently been installed in Toulouse, France. We have specified UK city centre schemes and are talking to interested parties in other parts of the world. However, the system has not been rolled out to the market yet and therefore doesn’t qualify as TRL9.

See more information about this level and the TRL and SRL levels.

The main components of the system have been tested separately, and an initial integration exercise has been conducted.

Credits
Collaborators

How does it work?

CENTAUR senses prevailing network conditions and uses AI to decide operation of a gate to hold water back or let it pass. It makes optimal use of available capacity to avoid escapes. The technical innovation is around AI, autonomy, melding of different comms and power technologies. Reliability was key to design: – Radio comms guarantee signal – Sensor redundancy gives reliable level data – The system can self-disable if compromised – The gate has physical fail-safes to eliminate upstream risk – The central module connects to an internet dashboard for oversight and reconfiguration – Bluetooth is used to connect to modules The system is modular, extensible, with lamp-post and in-manhole mounting, powered by solar or batteries.

Limitations/conditions under which this innovation does not work or is less effective

The system utilises storage capacity where it is available, so is not applicable everywhere. However modelling of many systems has shown it is applicable so solve problems in most networks. A very small amount of storage capacity can be leveraged for big impact. For example, for CSO spills, many smaller spill events can be avoided by smart utilisation of small levels of storage; even where little impact is had on larger return period events. Additionally, available storage can be utilised which is quite remote to impact the problem.

Added value
Cost Asset extension/enlargement and green infrastructure are orders of magnitude more expensive and years in planning. Alternative centralised realtime- control is cumbersome, orders of magnitude more expensive, with high latency and inflexibility. CENTAUR is low-cost, easily deployed, flexible and adaptable. Adaptability Hydrobrakes and orifice plates have static responses; they are engineered for design events. CENTAUR is responsive and adaptive; it responds optimally to prevailing conditions, best leveraging available storage; it also adapts as the network behaviour and loading evolves over years. Across a range of events – modelled in different networks and for specific up-coming installations – CENTAUR has been shown to behave optimally. Whereas, other systems cannot do this; they may be optimal for a narrow range of conditions.

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