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Technologies to digitilise and automate the inspection and management of gas and water networks

The SENIX project, with the participation of the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC, by its Spanish acronym), has created several solutions for the development of micro and nanoelectronic systems and platforms to improve the management of water and gas distribution networks.

SENIX’s goal is to meet the monitoring and control needs of service providers or Utilities (mainly gas and drinking water suppliers). These solutions are based on the reception of data by means of on-site sensors.
SENIX is integrated within the UTILITIES 4.0 project, in which companies and agents of the Catalan research and innovation system participate within the RIS3CAT Community, through which they promote R&D&I actions. SENIX, with the participation of IMB-CNM-CSIC, was successfully completed last March.

This project can be beneficial, among other things, for the following: signalling and monitoring critical points along the water and gas network; for detecting leaks; or for carrying out advanced visual inspection inside pipelines. In addition, it can also help to prevent recurring problems in water and gas distribution networks such as the formation of biofilms, a build-up of thin layers of micro-organisms that grow on surfaces in contact with wáter. This can pose a health and contamination problem.

SENIX has worked mainly on the monitoring of water and gas distribution networks, with different types of sensors, to ensure their good construction, safety and operation, as well as the quality of the water distributed. This process aims to minimise and simplify maintenance tasks and provide a better service to the consumer.

The systems are composed on the one hand, of hardware adapted to each use, together with signal processing electronics and wireless data communication, and on the other hand, of processing software. This union between hardware and software covers the entire value chain and helps to create complete platforms that facilitate suppliers' decision making according to their various business models.

Within the project, IMB-CNM has also participated in areas related to the measurement of drinking water quality with sensors that monitor the growth of biofilms in pipes; as well as in the identification of methane leaks by detecting its odorant gas, THT. Finally, it has also been involved in the development of environmental energy harvesting processes (micro energy harvesting) to power small devices such as sensors and to study their viability in the industrial environment of Utilities.

Researcher Carles Cané (IMB-CNM) states that in the case of the SENIX project "RIS3CAT has served to efficiently bring the needs of companies closer to the R&D&I capacities of technology centres and public research organisations."

UTILITIES 4.0, the project in which SENIX is framed, is funded by the Catalan Agency ACCIO, through its research programme RIS3CAT with specific European funds. This strategic plan promotes new forms of collaboration between public administration, research and innovation agents, companies and society in order to provide innovative and effective responses to the challenges we face as a society.
SENIX is led by NATURGY and counts with the participation of, in addition to IMB-CNM-CSIC, Nedgia, Naturgy SDG, Suez, Cetaqua Barcelona, Aqualogy Solutions, Labaqua, Fundacio Eurecat, I2CAT, Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and Worldsensing. The project has the external collaboration of the Centre de Visió per Computació (CVC, by its Catalan acronym).

More information on the project: https://eurecat.org/es/portfolio-items/senix/