I love clean air and even when we are indoors the air we breathe comes from the outdoor environment, like streets, small neighborhoods, city superblocks, etc. There are high probabilities that you, the reader, live in a city and the air you breathe isn’t clean enough to support your healthy lifestyle.
Most cities in Europe, as far as I know, have two state reference stations (a background and an urban) for air quality monitoring. They are great, with highly accurate and expensive equipments inside. Unfortunately, most of the time they are old and outdated which limit their ability to engage people to look into the air quality problems we are facing.
My city hosts around 200,000 people and the one urban reference stations we have isn’t capable of measuring PM2.5, at least not as most people will expect. It registers ONE daily average PM2.5 measurement (and not always). Data are free but in order to get these daily measurements you need to file a form and wait a month as manually a lab examines the filters were PM2.5 particles are captured.
Of course this is a tedious way to report data in 2020 at least in my opinion, I understand the “accuracy” obsession that surrounds some scientists, they can keep doing that but also they need to report real-time data to citizens if they want them to change the way they think and behave. I mean, what can I do if I learn that the air was dirty a month ago?
Here comes a outdoor monitor like Clarity Node-S. In my opinion, cities have no excuse not to install such monitors around the city and allow citizens to see the air they breathe. Literally, it is so easy to pick a place in a city and install a monitor. Clarity takes advantage of the low-cost sensors and has developed a solution hard to resist.
- Plantower PMS6003 for PM1 | PM2.5 | PM10 (0 – 1000 μg/m3)
- Alphasense NO2 Sensor (0 – 3000 ppb)
- Temperature (-20 – 70 ̊C)
- Humidity (0 – 100% RH)
- Global Cellular Module
- Solar Panel
- Internal Battery
- Wall Power Supply
I have been playing with the device for over a month now, undoubtedly it is a gorgeous monitor not that the design matters for a city deployment but the build quality is high and suitable for places where it rains, or it is windy, or the sunlight is strong (UV) and could deteriorate the plastic.
The Solar Panel and the external power supply act as a switch for the device so each time you plug/unplug the monitor you basically restart it even with the battery inside. The Solar Panel is very durable and you can adjust the angle with great flexibility in order to get more solar power. Although even when I limited the sunlight exposure the device was able to operate without a problem for 24h. For a week the monitor was exposed to direct sunlight for only 1 hour during the day and the battery was fully charged each time after that period. You don’t want your air quality monitors to be left without energy and not being able to register precious air quality data. Clarity was able to pass the energy tests I put it through. The specifications state that the internal battery can go up to 20 days without sunlight, >2 years with 1 hour of full sunlight per day on average.
The monitor is rated with IPX3 which means that you can spray your monitor up to 60° from the top of the device aka rainproof.
The device could be mounted in three different scenarios: hanging onto a panel (Figure 1), screwing into a wall (Figure 2), or attaching to a pole (Figure 3), which is the most common ways in cities — street light, traffic lights, or high street signs.
For the particulate matter monitoring, Clarity is equipped with a Plantower PMS6003 sensors which is one of my favourites low-cost sensors. The PMS6003 is a dual laser version of the PMS5003, for longer lifetime and has been proved to be very accurate and a better fit for particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) which makes it a perfect candidate for urban environments and vehicle emissions. Of course, it can also measure PM10 and PM1.0.
Since the huge Dieselgate scandal, I am obsessed with NO2 emissions and the unethical automotive companies who poison citizens till today. This is the reason NO2 measurements are very important, in Europe alone, there are 8 million vehicles in the streets spewing highly toxic NO2 in high concentrations. Clarity uses one of the best NO2 sensors by Alphasense.
The temperature and humidity sensors are there only for measuring the internal environment of the device and to ensure the proper function and for possible sensor adjustments.
The device communicates and uploads all measurements every 15min via a Global Cellular Module aka 3G/4G data packages. That way it doesn’t spend a lot of energy and ensures coverage all over the cities or any other place. If your smartphone has reception then Clarity will work there too. The global internet module comes included with the global data plan (no extra data costs), so 100% worry-free setup.
Remote Calibration is a process where the device can be further adjusted for local conditions (temperature, relative humidity, etc.) and pollutant profiles to provide more accurate data. This process is included in Clarity’s comprehensive service solution.
This solution reduces cost, labor, and time requirements and, of course, is scalable, allowing for a city-wide deployment of hundreds of IoT air quality sensors with real-time insights.
Finally, If you want to share your data and make them open and available for everybody to enjoy, you can register your devices in the OpenMap portal. That is a fantastic solution for cities as they don’t have to develop a different map for their city/community.
Currently, you can also show and hide the actives COVID-19 cases as registered by the John Hopkins University.
Soon there will be available a new unified dashboard where users will be able to do much more! So stay tuned.
If you run an air quality department or you manage the sustainable development budget in a city, you must help your city breathe cleaner air by adopting such solutions. Clarity can monitor two of the most important urban air pollutants, Particulate Matter (PM1/PM2.5/PM10), and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in real-time and the Remote Calibration feature will help you save money and time. A tool that will help cities understand and tackle air pollution.
The Node-S it’s not a consumer air quality monitor and it is designed for retail to governments, communities, and industries.
Help your community see, think, and act.