We are very proud to announce that air quality technology from Aeroqual has won a major prize at the 2016 NZ Hi-Tech Awards. Our AQM 65 compact air quality monitoring station took the top award in the Most Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Solution category.
HOW IS THE AQM 65 INNOVATIVE?
Most noticeably, the AQM 65 packs a complete air monitoring station into a box the size of a large suitcase. And though at first glance it may be ‘just a box’, its outside-the-box components stand out from those of traditional air quality technology.
Rather than using conventional analyzers, our specialty is taking low cost sensors and turning them into instruments that can produce high quality measurements in the toughest of environments. Most off the shelf sensors are not suited to the challenge of ambient air quality monitoring, so Aeroqual has assessed hundreds of sensors against demanding criteria. We also make our own sensors for some gases, like ozone and nitrogen dioxide, because no better ones exist for our applications.
However, sensors can be prone to cross interference – for example, nitrogen dioxide sensors are sensitive to ozone which is likewise found in urban environments. We use scrubbers to physically remove interfering gases, and also run a ‘zero cycle’: alternately sampling with and without the interfering gases removed. The difference between the measurements gives the target gas concentration.
Because sensors are susceptible to changes in temperature, the AQM enclosure is insulated and temperature-controlled. A mix of heaters and compressors work to maintain a target internal temperature of 22 deg C, plus or minus 0.2 deg C. The walls contain a series of ducts and fans that prevent a temperature gradient developing inside.
The AQM 65 can be permanently installed or used for mobile monitoring over a wide area, say in a city or around an industrial plant. Either way, it’s more than a piece of equipment. To support the hardware, we’ve developed cloud-based software that remotely and wirelessly collects and analyses the data, and makes sense of it for our customers. As well, this information allows us to quickly diagnose any faults and direct our local service agents to provide expert support, including ongoing maintenance and calibration.
WHAT MAKES THE AQM A ‘SOLUTION’?
To come up with a solution implies there is a need or problem. In this case, it’s that outdoor air quality is deteriorating for a majority of the world’s people, and recent research from the World Health Organisation shows this is impacting their health more adversely than has previously been thought. But good decisions about air quality rely on good relevant data – and that has often been inaccessible because accurate measurement equipment has been bulky, hard to operate, and formidably expensive.
We’ve reduced the size of the AQM, the complexity of the instruments used to measure air quality, and ultimately reduced the cost. This makes reliable air quality technology attainable for a growing market of worldwide customers: government and local government agencies, industrial companies, environmental consultants, and research organisations.
ON THE WIN
The NZ Hi-Tech Awards received a record number of entries this year, and several of the judges commented that the standard of entries is the highest yet seen in the event’s 22-year history. We are very proud to announce this recognition for our technology innovation.