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Technology

Real-time nitrate measurement for algal bloom prediction

June 2, 2017
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

An MPC-Buoy system real-time monitoring the water quality and controlling algae growth in a lake in the Netherlands.

Excessive concentrations of nitrates in lakes and reservoirs can cause accelerated eutrophication and loss of dissolved oxygen. When there is too much nitrate in a water body, algae will grow faster than the ecosystem can handle. Since nitrogen is food for the algae, an excess level of nitrates can create conditions that make it difficult for aquatic insects or fish to survive — and can potentially harm people if they drink water that has not been adequately treated.

LG Sonic, a leading international manufacturer of algae control systems, has introduced a detection system for predicting and addressing blooms in their early stages.

The NOз sensor is integrated in the water quality sensor package delivered with the MPC-Buoy, a solar-powered system for monitoring and controlling algal blooms. The water quality sensors measure essential algae indicators (Chlorophyll-a, Phycocyanin, and turbidity) and water quality parameters (Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Redox, pH, and Temperature) every 10 minutes.

Besides this information being useful for predicting algal blooms, excessive nitrate concentrations can also be an indicator of discharge in the lakes from surrounding industries. The measured data can be viewed in real-time via a web-based software package called MPC-View.

The MPC-Buoy system also provides an environmentally friendly solution to control algae growth. Based on the received water quality data, a specific ultrasonic program is activated. This makes it possible to reduce 70 to 90% of the algal bloom and to prevent new blooms. Currently, LG Sonic is running MPC-Buoy projects in more than 20 countries worldwide.

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