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Dubai professor develops innovation to combat increasing air pollution
By a Staff Reporter February 21, 2016
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DUBAI: A Dubai-based professor has developed a new technology that could be significant in making air quality monitoring more cost-effective, and ultimately saving lives.

The solution assumes greater importance when viewed against Word Health Organisation data which suggests that air pollution has become the world’s biggest environmental health risk, linked to over 7 million deaths a year.

Dr Adel Ben Mnaouer, Associate Professor in the School of Engineering, Applied Science &Technology at Canadian University Dubai (CUD), is part of a team of international scientists that has developed an innovation that enables high-efficiency air quality monitoring, to help promote a cleaner environment and reduce the health risks associated with poor atmospheric quality.

Known as SENNO, the new technology was created as part of a $1 million research initiative funded by the Qatar Foundation’s National Priorities Research Programme, and has secured QR 1.3 million from the Qatar Science and Technology Park for a 16-month ‘proof of concept’ prototyping project.

The innovation, which was developed in collaboration with academics from Qatar University and the University of Brescia, uses advanced sensor technology to manage energy drawn from the environment, enabling the continuous operation of air quality monitoring systems without human intervention.

Environmental monitoring has previously relied on portable and limited-life energy sources, such as batteries, in order to support sensor functionality – a costly approach requiring regular manual replacement. The SENNO prototype however uses ambient power sources and applies sensor technology to dramatically improve energy efficiency.

Dr Mnaouer explained, “Sensor networks dedicated to atmospheric monitoring can provide an early warning of environmental hazards. However, remote systems need robust and reliable sensor nodes, which require high levels of power efficiency for autonomous, continuous and long-term use.

“Our technology harvests environmental energy, such as sun and ambient light, heat differentials, radio frequency radiation and mechanical vibration. Furthermore, it optimises energy use by the sensory equipment, so as to function only for the time needed to achieve the operations of sensor warm-up, sampling, data processing and wireless data transmission, thereby creating an air quality monitoring system that measures pollutants in a sustainable and efficient way.”

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