Watch a RHINO on the scent of wastewater treatment plant odorsS. Himmelstein | December 13, 2021
The potential for wastewater treatment facilities to become odoriferous nuisances may be markedly reduced by a flying sensor electronic nose (e-nose) array engineered by researchers in Spain
Deployment of the drone-mounted real-time high-speed e-nose (RHINO) can eliminate the time-intensive manual air sampling now required and overcome the subjective judgment of human panels tasked with rating the reek. The 1.3 kg device uses an array of gas sensors and artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms to detect and measure levels of foul-smelling airborne chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.
Affixed to a multicopter drone, a RHINO device was flown over a wastewater treatment plant in southern Spain, where it hovered at various locations and drew air into the e-nose via a dangling 10 m tube. When analyzing the same air samples during the field test, 10 out of 13 measurements from the e-nose aligned with the human panel's assessments. The data generated were used to map the temporal and spatial odor concentration and to predict intensity of the scent from drone measurements.
Access a paper on the design and performance of the flying e-nose, developed by researchers from Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology and Depuración de Aguas del Mediterráneo, in iScience.