Electronics experts Sensor Driven, a University of Bristol spin-out company has received Game Changers funding to demonstrate how the technology could be useful in nuclear waste stores at Sellafield.
Traditional sensors constantly use battery power, regularly sleeping, waking and measuring when often there is nothing of interest to measure. This typically limits battery lifetime to a few years. Sensor Driven has produced microchips that can extend battery lifetime to decades using the energy from a sensor signal to wake up the measuring electronics and take a reading.
This pioneering technology ensures battery energy is only used when an event of interest occurs. It can be used to monitor important information relating to movement, moisture, temperature, noise and more.
Sensor Driven have devised unique technology that considerably extends the life of battery powered sensors. This research originated from the Electrical Energy Management Group at the University of Bristol but has been commercialised since 2017 for use in various sectors and environments.
This technology has huge potential for Sellafield, which needs to track the behaviour of stored nuclear waste for up to 100 years.
Technology tested on active volcanoes
This sensor technology have been deployed and tested on the Stromboli volcano in Italy, where they were used in autonomous, intelligent sensor "dragon egg" pods to monitor volcanic activity. These were used in a network of "dragon egg" that would remain dormant for prolonged periods of time to preserve power, until volcanic activity is detected and the dragon egg “hatches” into a full featured remote monitoring station with a wireless transceiver.
Find out more in our Advanced Self-Powered ‘Dragon egg’ Sensor Units case study.