Environmental monitoring refers to a combination of processes undertaken, activities needed, and initiatives deemed necessary in characterizing and monitoring the quality of the entire environment. Environment monitoring is an essential process mainly applied during the preparation of environmental impact assessments. Under normal circumstances, all monitoring processes have justifications which are specifically designed to analyze the present status of an environment and also to establish environmental parameter trends. The design of instruments and devices used to perform the monitoring action must always have regard to the final use of data before monitoring starts.
Based on the figure above, the input refers in a clear sense to the environmental property to be monitored. In this case, the input may include; temperature, pressure, particulate content, light levels, humidity, or even air flow. The control comprises of detecting elements, which consists mainly of sensors that are used to detect the magnitude of the monitored environmental property. The process manipulates the information received from control and declares a recommendation of what action should be taken.
A sensor is a device that exhibits detecting property that simply controls on/off switches in order to detect several conditions. It has many applications. In this system, there are many things detected by sensors, which include;
- Hot or cold empty or full
- High or low
They are a vital component of this project. They hold a whopping space in the running of this system. They cannot be overlooked. This form of transducer utilizes the basic electrical property as demonstrated by wires (conductors). The image illustrates almost the whole process it encompasses. It is discovered that when the ends of two conductors/wires of different electrical properties are joined together, one junction is made hot and the other junction is made cold. This means that, the difference felt in all temperature conditions, is proportional to the generated small electric current. In most cases, the hot end forms the sensor.
Heat, in this system, is always taken up at the end that appears hot, and withdrawn at the lower end of the cold part. This is evident as it has been illustrated by various experiments. Thermocouples should always be standard in order for the same electromagnetic force to indicate the same temperature. This is a fact that should always be put into application.
These are truly essential in the working of the whole system. They cannot be neglected at any instance. Pressure sensors operate by either converting the pressure into mechanical movement or an electrical output. They tend to sense the pressure and finally indicating the pressure on a scale.
For the mechanical type pressure transducer, the mechanical movement is achieved by the working principle of the following elements;
- Spring and piston
- Bellows and capsules
- Bourdon tube
There are several types of flow meters depending on the model type and application.
- Inferential type
- Differential pressure type
- Variable area type
- Positive displacement type
The working principle of a flow meter is always achieved by a rotor that is made to spin once a fluid is forced. The revolution of the rotor is then sensed either mechanically or electrically and recorded.
Other types of sensors include;
- Light level sensors
- Humidity sensors
- Particulate content sensors
Market for environmental monitoring system
Environmental monitoring system has conquered the universe in terms of its application. It has a wide coverage and is put into many appliances and applications. The market for environmental monitoring system is vast and available in all most all sectors/fields ranging from industrial, defense, home application and meteorology. Many countries, all over the world, employ and embrace this technology. It has been supported by organizations worldwide. These organizations have the interest of sustainability, and people, at heart.
Based on meteorology, this is a market sector that vitally implies the use of environmental monitoring systems. All factors that meteorologists apply and use base on this system. There are many calls from international organizations, that all these departments apply this system. It is the core and ready market for environmental monitoring systems. Based on its effort of analyzing the atmosphere, weather forecasting and climate prediction, it has extensively put in use environmental monitoring systems for measuring
- Light levels
- Atmospheric pressure
- Particulate components
The defense forces have also gone an extra mile to incorporate environmental monitoring system as part of their strategy for defense mechanism. This idea is a secure and ready market for environmental monitoring systems that are long lasting. Through the military efforts of fighting terror, they imply the use of power range nuclear instrumentation. This system is applied mainly in the process of monitoring the reactor’s power level. This is particularly essential in the working of the whole system. It cannot be overlooked. It has been in use for many years thus proving its necessity.
Through the use of the unmanned aircraft system, it is possible to monitor the environmental condition. The defense uses this system to collect data from dangerous areas. Accurate data and observations highly improve scientific understanding and lead to better forecasting to save lives and resources. They have to understand the level of toxic contamination in the atmosphere, the degree of hotness or coldness, the level of pressure, light intensity and humidity of an area of target before they can commence into operation. These clarifications involve the use of environmental monitoring systems creating a market opportunity for its elements.
Almost all industries imply the use of environmental control systems. This provides a substantial market for environmental control systems elements and circuits. A control room is one of the most facilities that extensively apply these environmental monitoring system circuits. Ranging from its ability to detect temperature through the use of thermocouples, it can detect high temperature than normal; send a command to the control structure that will provide a mechanism that will regulate the temperature to optimal. At the same time, it can regulate the temperature to normal when it is below the optimal.
In manufacturing/ process industries, environmental monitoring systems are used to determine any rise or fall of a physical factor. These include temperature, humidity, particulate components, and pressure that may lead to strange behavior of the entire machine system. This is also in its application, in the manufacturing process, and also in altering the level of production either by the act of degrading the immense quality of any product in question or shifting the speed of operation from desired.
Other industrial processes that require or utilize the operation of environmental monitoring system circuits include;
- Petroleum exploration
- Power stations
- Chemical monitoring
- Industry alarms
- Process automation
- Marine control
Environmental control systems are not only employed in the bid and massive organizations, but they also seem to be operational at house/home level.
Fire detectors use the mechanism of environmental monitoring systems in operation. As the temperature rises beyond the optimum, a sensor detects the rise and sends a command to the control circuit which sends a command to activate the alarm. Other equipments that use environmental monitoring systems at house hold level include;
- Smoke detector
- Automated ventilation system
- Green houses
- Dampness detector
All these household devices are a direct channel in the creation of direct and wide market for environmental monitoring system elements.
The entire universe as a unit cannot fail to appreciate the benefit and importance of environmental monitoring system elements. The whole population provides a wide, versatile and ready market for these devices used to monitor the environment properties. It is worthy to note that an international market is always available for environmental monitoring system circuits.
Based on the assessment of the research carried out on the loop holes in the market of environmental monitoring systems, it was discovered that demand was high for weather monitoring system. Regarding the potential of Optsense limited in innovation of optic fiber sensors and the newly discovered technique of mid infrared, it is strongly recommended that the company should now focus on the production of a Mobile Universal Weather Station (MUWS) in order to capitalize and take advantage of the market gap that is available.
Regarding this proposed new equipment, the market target include remote small scale farmers and also private weather forecasting firms that usually move among several towns, in the bid of conducting environmental research. The equipment also targets meteorological institutions that are not capable of installing the entire weather station which is extremely expensive to install and maintain.
It also targets the market of research institutes for both agricultural and environmental development. The equipment being mobile, it is extensively required by research firms that conduct research in different small firms scattered all over the county/state.
Based on the development of this proposed equipment for Optsense limited, the firm should employ a contract engineer who is well advanced and informed on environmental monitoring system in the bid of taking care of the entire process of research and implementation of the equipment. Research should be performed on;
- The ability of the equipment to determine the flow and speed of moving wind
- Ability for the instrument to detect and record temperature
- Able to record atmospheric pressure
- Capable of determining the soil humidity and atmospheric humidity and record them on different scales
- Ability to record the moisture content of the soil
- Able to record the gas composition of the soil in terms of oxides of nitrogen and sulphur. (CO, CO2, NOx, Sox)
- Capable of determining the intensity of light level
- Able to record the amount of rainfall.
Among all ideas, we got challenges waiting. Based on this equipment, the most significant challenge is competition that it will exhibit from other equipments already distributed in the market that performs a similar task. Currently in the market are the weather monitoring systems that are being utilized by the respective targeted market of this proposed equipment. Despite the fact that most of the available instruments are not mobile, expensive, and not mounted together to perform diverse operations at once, they still pose an extremely high market competition for the new proposed instrument for Opt sense.