Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bad Air Quality Causes 430.000 Deaths A Year In Europe - But This Finnish Startup Has A Drone-Mounted Solution

Via Business Insider:

Finland is well known for its beautiful, unspoiled nature. Last year the World Health Organisation announced that Pallas, in the North of the country, has the cleanest air on earth. So clean in fact that you can even buy it by the can (yes, really!).

Compare that with London, for example, where 9.000 people a year die as a result of air pollution (Europe-wide it caused 430.000 deaths in 2016). Air pollution, it seems, is a serious problem. And it’s one that cleantech startup Aeromon is working on solving.

The solution is to measure air quality with drones.

The Finnish company is using drone-mounted sensors to change the way emissions are mapped and monitored. Their modular gas sensors and cloud analytics platform are able to provide real-time data on industrial emissions. They have sensors for 70 different gases, including sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide (the latter alone accounts for 71,000 premature deaths a year in Europe).

Measuring emissions with drones provides a unique take on this problem. It helps to locate emissions that would otherwise go unnoticed - drones can get to places near impossible to access by other means. Another key aspect is speed. These drones can map and analyse large areas a lot quicker than can be done on foot.

From an environmental perspective this means that emissions and leaks can be detected much earlier on, as well as in areas where they were not previously thought to exist. This minimises the overall effect of potentially harmful (and indeed lethal) gases to both humans and the nature around us.

Aeromon was founded to solve the problem of measuring maritime emissions.

Aeromon was launched in 2015. It’s fully funded by its co-founders, who act as angel investors for the business, and also have a hand in the day-to-day running of things. In terms of business areas, Aeromon’s focus is currently on marine emission monitoring, industrial & environmental emissions, and health & safety.

They’ve already completed several successful pilot programmes too.These include work with the oil and gas industry, an international project on shipping emissions in the Arctic, and work on Helsinki’s Ämmässuo waste treatment center.

Jouko Salo, one of Aeromon’s co-founders and chairman, relates how the company came about from the fact that there was no technology available for monitoring emissions from ships sailing near coastlines. This is a crucial point given that maritime transport currently accounts for 2.5% of all CO2 emissions worldwide. The EU is looking to clamp down on this with stricter regulation on how ports report their annual emissions, which comes into force next year.

Whilst increased regulation is certainly a step in the right direction, it only goes so far. Salo is acutely aware of this, and it’s also part of the reason Aeromon was founded. As he points out, “It’s obvious that environmental regulation without enforcement is void of meaning”. Access to data makes enforcement possible.

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