The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has approved a $1,127,873 award to Yellow Springs-based YSI Inc., Riehl Engineering and the University of Cincinnati for their "Advanced Modified Carbon Nanotube-Based Nutrient Sensor" project.
University of Cincinnati Distinguished Research Professor William Heineman, in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Chemistry, is officially part of the million-dollar team.
The project will produce an advanced nutrient sensor to enable critical monitoring of environmental waters for nitrate, which is a major pollutant associated with wastewaters and agricultural runoffs. Sensors are devices used to collect information about an environment, either remotely or by being located in the area being studied.
"The carbon nanotube-based sensor will be able to measure the nitrate in an extremely fast, sensitive way," explains Heineman. "The sensor will be a superior method of providing environmental quality control."
Nitrate is a chemical compound commonly found in fertilizers and formed by microbes that break down nitrogen-bearing plant residues in the soil. Storm water runoff washes these nitrates into streams and rivers. Nitrate, being a nutrient, feeds algae and other plants in the water. Too much nitrate causes growth surges, thus choking out the fish and other animals.
Nitrates that might be entering a community's drinking water must be monitored by industries as mandated by several requirements and regulations, such as National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits under the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Up until now, such monitoring has been cumbersome, with sensors being approximately the size of a 45-gallon can and weighing about 80 pounds.
Thanks to the work of the team, the new sensors that are currently in development will be about one-third the size of a pencil, and will
|Contact: Wendy Beckman|
University of Cincinnati