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Canada invests in PEI wastewater tech for microbial health

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A Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) investment of $1.9 million in Charlottetown-based SENTRY Water Monitoring will help the company enhance its bioelectrode sensors that monitor microbial health in real time at wastewater treatment plants.

It’s what some observers have called a “heart rate monitor for biology.”

The technology enables WWTP operators to optimize performance based on data aggregation and protect against imbalance or toxic shock events that can be identified as soon as they impact microbial activity. The sensors also help to understand organic loading, while monitoring influent, and give administrators the ability to determine seasonal impacts on plant performance and find performance patterns.

SENTRY Water Monitoring CEO, Patrick Kiely, said the sensors can help WWTPs save 20% on energy costs or generate 20% more energy from renewable biogas.

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“SDTC will help accelerate the use of SENTRY’s technology in the circular economy,” Kiely said in an announcement through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Founded in 2013, PEI’s SENTRY says its system substitutes an electrode for metal deposits, allowing electrical current to be recorded.

“The obtained biological data is instrumental in understanding the impact of water quality (pH, nutrient content) and operational parameters (temperature, flow rate, organic load) on the biological process’s efficiency, and resulting system performance,” SENTRY’s product description says.

As Canada’s largest funder of clean technology entrepreneurs, SDTC has brought 177 new technologies to market, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22.4 megatonnes of CO2 annually since 2001, the equivalent of taking almost 7 million cars off the road every year.

The federal foundation’s CEO, Leah Lawrence, said that this is the first SDTC investment in SENTRY Water Monitoring.

“Canadian entrepreneurs are driving the innovation that is moving us towards a more sustainable and prosperous future,” Lawrence announced in an SDTC statement. “This investment will enable Sentry Water Monitoring to rapidly accelerate and commercialize their ideas and continue the momentum of public and private commitments to advancing clean technology,” she added.

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