The netH2O platform
The netH2O platform includes buoys, drones, a web+mobile infrastructure to collect and redistribute data and a powertrain for wave energy converters!
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Elements Works started developing the first release of the P50 Power Take Off (PTO) system in 2014, in parallel with the Smart Mini Barge (SMB) which is used to install and remove the P50 from the machine. Elements Works used the system P50 + SMB in the first H24 Wave Energy Converter by 40South Energy, starting from 2015.
Our first commercial product in the netH2O family is the netH2O Buoy, for professional applications and for the recreational market. For very demanding applications, in sites with harsh environmental conditions, there is the netH2O C1000 Buoy pictured above inside a fishfarming site off Capraia Island in Tuscany. This is a "rugged" version of the netH2O Buoy. For more standard applications, the netH2O B180 (below) and netH2O B125 buoys are more indicated.
The netH2O B180 Buoy, currently under construction for a customer, is a modular smart buoy, which can host a variety of sensors depending on the application. It is simple, sturdy an cheap, and can be operated by non technical personnel Please note also that we are experimenting with ETHEREUM payments, which you can find as an option at checkout.
In professional applications (like fish-farming, mussels farming, ports and marinas, water basins, desalination plants) or in security applications (like swimmers security, or aquatic sports) the netH2O has the robustness and simplicity of use to be integrated seamlessly in the daily workflow.
The basic configuration has a temperature sensor, a GPS and an inertial Motion Unit with which it can estimate waves and currents. It is also equipped with WiFi, Lora and Cellular (3G/2G) as main communication channels.
The buoy is charged on its base and due to its small form factor (1m long or 2m long depending on the variant, 15cm diameter) it can be easily lifted out of the water for a quick clean up of its sensors. The netH2O B180 version is 1.2m long and can store up to 165Wh of energy. The netH2O B110 instead is much smaller, and more indicated in situations where there are less sensors.
The listed add-on modules provide additional funtionality. Please note that the buoy is built to order, so you should expect 60 days from payment to receive notice of shipment.
To the netH2O Buoy is applicable the "Transformation 4.0" fiscal benefit from the Italian government, and in the regions Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia, Molise, Sardegna and Abruzzo alternatively the "Credito del Mezzogiorno". Please switch to the Italian version of this page (lower left menu) or to our blog post on this argument, for more details.
"Solar PV" module: solar PV panels, which are enough to sustain it under normal usage conditions, without the need for periodic recharge. In case of intense usage, it is always possible to top it up with a wireless charge on its base.
"Photo" module: three digital cameras pointing in the three directions (120 degrees from each other), so that you can picture and transmit remotely the surface situation near the buoy, for surveillance reasons. The photos can be taken after a remote instruction, or autonomously on the basis of the acoustic monitoring system.
"Security" module: the buoy is equipped with an easy to press button, which triggers an emergency, and one LoRa receiving station to be positioned in land within LoRa range of the buoy. This applies in particular to swimmers in difficulty close to the buoy. Once the emergency is triggered, the buoy sends out an emergency signal via LoRa, which is a robust signal even in bad weather conditions, and starts flashing a light and emitting an alarm sound. The buoy is also equipped with an AI system (experimental at the time of writing, optional activation) which uses a microphone and an AI algorithm to capture emergency vocal calls, and if it hears one it triggers the emergency. If the buoy is also equipped with the photo module, it will take photos of the surroundings and send them over cellular or WiFi, if available. Furthermore, the buoy analyses waves and currents around it, and sends out a "risk estimate for swimmers" via LoRa.
"Mooring" module: mooring point. The buoy can take a load of up to 1000Kg, and therefore moor safely small boats. An application is to diving spots, or open water mooring fields, where the buoy autonomously identifies the presence of a moored boat (and the duration of the mooring).
"Salinity sensor" module: salinity sensor (induction device). This is useful in locations near the transition fresh water/salt water, or where there are underwater freshwater springs, or where it is important to monitor the effect of rains or river outflow at sea.
"Underwater webcam" module: underwater webcam, pan-tilt and with Full HD resolution (Foscam R4). In this case the buoy needs a WiFi hotspot, due to the increased bandwidth requirements of the webcam, or alternatively the webcam is only visualised locally (over WiFi). The hotspot can be provided by the user (for example, using his/her phone) or can be provided by us upon request. The underwater webcam is very useful in applications, like fishfarming, in which it is necessary to monitor the underwater behaviour of fish. It is useful also in diving spots, to monitor divers while they descend, and, more importantly, when they are doing decompression at the end of the dive.
"Dissolved oxygen sensor" module: sensor measuring the percentage of dissolved oxygen in the water (optical device). This is useful in locations where the vitality and quality of the product depends on the amount of oxygen in the water, or where it is important to monitor and identify events of reduced oxygenation of the water (maybe due to algal blooms).
"Chlorophyll-A sensor" module: with this module the buoy is equipped with a Cyclops 7F (R) Chlorophyll-A sensor by Turner Designs. This state of the art optical sensor can be useful in locations where you want to monitor water quality, in particular the insurgence of harmful algal blooms (HAB).
"Acoustic monitoring" function: with this option the buoy is equipped with a microphone with which (in arrays of three or more) it can estimate the position of motorboats in the vicinity and act accordingly. Please notice that this function is still experimental at the time of writing.
In the picture above instead you can see a technology demostrator of the netH2O F3000, one of the most complete versions of the netH2O Buoy in hybrid buoy-drone configuration, deployed together with other three in the Gulf of Trieste.
The netH2O Buoy are interconnected IoT and Edge Computing devices capable of collecting environmental data from a water body and of uploading it to the cloud.
The netH2O can be used in single (or small number) of units by individual users, or can be used in swarms by professional users.
We recently signed an agreement with SCUOLA SUPERIORE SANT’ANNA, UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA, AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTÍFICAS, M.P, CONSORCIO CENTRO DE INVESTIGACIÓN BIOMÉDICA EN RED, M.P. for the exclusive licence on a revolutionary water sensing technology, which we plan to integrate in the netH2O platform.
Basic professional applications of the netH2O Buoy
An aquaculture site can monitor temperature and waves for the right time to go out and feed the fish, or to lower the cages, or can monitor oxygen concentration for early warning of potential Harmful Algal Blooms.
A marina or a harbour can monitor wave motion and currents in several areas to decide when it is time to go and reinforce moorings
A water basin operator can monitor conditions in the basin to decide whether to authorise or not certain activities
A marine energy site can map energy levels throughout the area to model precisely machine dynamics and to do nowcasting.
A marine preserve can use an array of buoys to monitor transits and moorings or to extract ecological data.
Basic recreational applications of the netH2O Buoy
Open water swimmers can monitor conditions in a location where they will swim, or monitor an area where they are swimming (using a smartwatch to catch cloud data)
Beach waterpolo players (and the public) can monitor live conditions during a game
Beach goers (both at sea or in a lake, or even a river) can interrogate one with their mobile phone, to monitor sea conditions before going for a swim (or before deciding to move from town to go to the beach). This service can be offered by their beach resort of choice.
Hobbyist fishermen can monitor temperature and waves in a lake or stretch of sea, to identify the right time to go and fish.
Kayak or Sailboat users can monitor conditions on a path where they want to go, or one they are already in
Standup or traditional surfers can use one to decide if conditions are good at a given site. They can also receive live data on their smartwatch while surfing.
Divers can monitor conditions at a diving spot, or a diving center can do it for its clients
Based on netH2O Buoy, our Swimmbo family of drones extends the functionalities of the buoys to an advanced mobile platform. Stai tuned for the deployment of the first unit!