RNZAF Engineers Design Award-Winning Water Quality Monitoring Device

26 November 2019

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) duo Corporal Prateek Grover and Corporal Marty van Woerden are part of a team that has won an engineering prize for designing a prototype to monitor water quality in lakes, rivers and waterways.

The pair, who are both studying for a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Electronics) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) as part of the RNZAF Degree Training Scheme, partnered with fellow AUT student Sophie Hergot to design and create the prototype.

The prototype, called H2Pure, provides a way to measure water quality remotely using 4G technology and a custom-built mobile app using Bluetooth.

The trio were awarded the Top Engineering Project in Sustainability prize, judged by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research New Zealand, at the AUT Engineering Awards. The award is presented to the engineering project from final-year students that makes the greatest contribution to global sustainability through use of modern technology.

Corporal Grover said all three engineers have a passion for sustainability and wanted to create a solution to a problem using modern technology.

Learning that only 8 per cent of New Zealand lakes and 5 per cent of rivers are regularly monitored for water quality, the group looked to see what they could design to make monitoring easier, he said.

“Currently water sampling requires trained technicians to either measure water quality at individual sites or take samples back for lab analysis. H2Pure is a suite of sensors that can sit in a body of water and continuously monitor turbidity, pH level, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and nitrates.

“This makes measuring water quality much faster and more efficient.” 

They have already been contacted by commercial entities that are interested in the prototype and the technology behind it.

Corporal Woerden said it was important to them that they designed and created a solution that could be manufactured relatively easily and could be used practically by businesses.

“H2Pure draws on increasingly accessible technology that is available at a reasonable cost,” he said. “The next step is to look at how we could potentially make the product available on a commercial scale.”

This page was last reviewed on 26 November 2019.