Photo: Aqubiq

Reduce your water consumption by 15 per cent

Thursday 28 Sep 17

VIS—Water Innovation SMEs

The purpose of the project is to increase the number of innovative SMEs in the Capital Region of Denmark by supporting the development and testing of new concepts within the water domain, such as technology or service.


The companies have the opportunity to participate in a programme of about 3-18 months, which typically includes 200-600 researcher hours from DTU. Together with Water DTU, the Secretariat has established a virtual centre, which brings together DTU’s expertise within the water domain.


Learn more at www.waterdtu.dk/


Aqubiq

Aqubiq is a green technology company focusing on water. The company has five partners, both young entrepreneurs and more mature researchers. The ambition is to deliver innovative and intelligent water measurements, which can change how we consume water all over the world.


Learn more at http://aqubiq.com/en/home-2/

The company Aqubiq has together with researchers at DTU developed a method that makes it possible to see how much water your household uses on, for example, showering, clothes washing, and toilet flushing.

Perhaps you already know it from your electricity company, where you—via their website—can see how your electricity consumption develops and compare it with that of other families.

“We know that this ‘competitive element’—allowing you to see whether your consumption increases or decreases, whether it is above or below that of others—motivates people to save,” says Peter Nørtoft, CEO of Aqubiq. “But we would also like to tell people how you can actually ‘win’ the competition”, he continues.

The company produces a smart water sensor solution for private households consisting of three elements: A sensor that measures how much water enters your house from the main water pipe. The second component is the ‘cloud’, where the data are stored and analysed. They can subsequently be viewed on the third element, an app for your phone. You can use the app to continuously monitor your water consumption by use, for example washing up, showering, etc., just as you can compare it with the average use of Danes. This allows you to identify where you need to save to ‘outperform’ your neighbour.

The development of the product has gained momentum after Aqubiq joined the new VIS project at DTU, which is intended to promote the development of small businesses. This is done by offering the businesses the opportunity to collaborate with one or more researchers at DTU, who can help to fine-tune new products or technologies in the field of water management. VIS is financed by the EU and regional development funds from the Vækstforum Hovedstaden (Growth Forum of the Capital Region).

Hot or cold water?
Researchers at DTU have prepared an overview of how an average Dane uses the approx. 110 litres of water he or she uses during a 24-hour period. They have also specifically tested Aqubiq’s water solution in one of DTU’s buildings, where they—through manual measurements—checked whether the sensors and algorithms behind the calculations in the solution provide a true and fair view of the distribution of the water consumption on dishwashers, showers, etc.

“Martin Rygaard from DTU Environment also made us aware that the consumption of water should not be seen in isolation. From an environmental perspective, it is, for example, also a question of whether it is heated or cold water. We actually had not taken this into account. But it’s important for the individual consumer to be able to assess whether it is more profitable to buy a new washing machine which both uses less electricity and water than, for example, trying to save a few litres of cold water when brushing their teeth,” says Peter Nørtoft.

At the end of the day, he expects that an average household will be able to save up to 15 per cent of its water consumption after having installed Aqubiq’s water sensor solution.

Water a scarce resource
In Denmark, we have good access to water and is at the same time one of the countries in the world with the least water waste, both in connection with water abstraction, distribution, and consumption.
Martin Rygaard, researcher at DTU Environment, says:

“It is a different situation in other places around the world. In connection with the project, we have gathered data for Aqubiq not only from Denmark, but also from Singapore, Australia, and the USA, where water scarcity is much more pronounced and the area is thus subject to rules and regulations, for example a ban on irrigation etc. At the same time, there are places in the world which are at the same level or even ahead of us technologically and therefore in a position to benefit from using the smart solution with installation of the water sensors developed by Aqubiq. The University has long wanted to gather these data systematically.

“It’s been incredibly exciting and motivating to work with the enthusiasts from a small company like Aqubiq. And even though I’m aware that other people are trying to develop similar solutions, I think that Aqubiq has a special take on the issue with their high-tech approach,” says Martin Rygaard.

Later this autumn, Aqubiq starts up a major pilot project with 10 households in Haslev that will be testing the new technology. In addition, the company carried out a water-saving project at this year’s Roskilde Festival and has been in Singapore to present the water sensors and their potential applications.

“This was to a large extent made possible thanks to the essential contribution from DTU via the VIS project. So I can warmly recommend other small businesses to make use of the programme and in this way ensure the growth and development all start-ups are dreaming of, but have difficulty finding the available resources for,” says Peter Nørtoft.

Contact
CEO Peter Nørtoft, Aqubiq, email: peter.nortoft@aqubiq.com, tel.: +45 22 35 41 09
Associate Professor Martin Rygaard, DTU Environment, email: mryg@env.dtu.dk, tel.: +1 510 458 7025 (Martin Rygaard is currently a guest lecturer at a Californian university and thus nine hours behind Denmark).

Secretariat of the VIS project:
Viggo Aaberg Kærn, email: viak@dtu.dk, tel.: +45 24 92 17 72
Berit Godskesen, email: berg@env.dtu.dk, tel.: +45 45 25 16 06
Lærke Philipsen, email: lphi@env.dtu.dk, tel.: +45 45 25 59 21


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20 SEPTEMBER 2018