Drone-mounted sensors propel Aeromon to the top of emission control

Aeromon’s drone-mounted sensors are opening up markets for entirely new emission control applications in the fields of maritime transport, industry and traffic. Drones enable rapid measurements in places that previously proved difficult or impossible to access. Supported by Tekes funding and cooperation with research organisations, Aeromon has developed its technology into a unique product on the international markets in just two years.

The company's original idea was to use drone-mounted sensors to monitor emissions from ships, as required by the Sulphur Directive. Previously, there had been virtually no means of conducting offshore emission monitoring. Drones enable the real-time measurement of ship emissions and their dispersion.

Cooperation with research organisations

Aeromon has developed its monitoring service solution in cooperation with a number of partners. It gathered a network of marine industry experts to support its product development and relied heavily on cooperation with research organisations, in order to develop its sensor technology and measurement systems. Through a consortium funded by the Arctic Seas programme of Tekes, which is developing methods for monitoring emissions from maritime transport, Aeromon began cooperation with operators such as VTT and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

"Aeromon has made smart use of Tekes funding and expanded its networks and knowhow through projects," says a satisfied Programme Manager Piia Moilanen.

"Tekes funding has an impact. Good funding mechanisms and smooth cooperation with research organisations enable rapid progress from ideas to results,"says Jouko Salo, Chairman of the Board at Aeromon.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) chose Aeromon to perform emission monitoring on European seas

In April 2016 the European Maritime Safety Agency opened a Europe-wide tender on maritime sulfur emissions control with Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Aeromon participated in the bid as a technology provider to ALTUS LSA, a Greek company who has been awarded with a 2 + 2 year contract for setting up the turn key solution and providing the relative service. In the project Aeromon's technology stack will cover emission sample capture, handling and monitoring system together with a cloud based analytics and reporting platform for real time situational awareness.

In Europe, approximately EUR 4–6 million will be spent over the next two years on monitoring marine sulphur emissions with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles. This means growth for Aeromon. This year, Aeromon is aiming to increase its net sales tenfold compared to 2016, and is also seeking rapid growth in the years to come. Marine emission monitoring provides Aeromon with the opportunity to expand its operations to countries such as China and the USA, where fuel sulphur limits have been tightened.

Even greater potential in industrial and traffic emissions control

The global market for industrial emissions control is worth several billion euros.

"In the future, the core of our business will lie specifically in industrial emissions measurement, in which considerable potential lies in the measurement of fugitive emissions in particular. The same technology that we have developed for marine emission monitoring is also ideal for this purpose," says Jouko Salo.

Aeromon piloted the measurement of fugitive emissions in cooperation with its industrial partners in 2016. Alongside the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, Aeromon investigated the dispersion of odour and methane emissions at the Ämmässuo composting field and waste treatment centre. In cooperation with UPM and Gasum, the firm examined the dispersion of odours and volatile organic compounds. Aeromon's modular measurement system enables the detection of over 70 different gases. To ensure its reliability, measurement data is transferred to a cloud-based service for analysis and verification. Measurement involves the combination of emissions data with geospatial data.

"We can, for example, create an emissions map of an industrial area, in which account has been taken of the wind speed and direction. This enables us to calculate where exactly an emission originates," Jouko Salo explains.

Drone-mounted sensors can also be used to examine traffic emissions and their vertical dispersion. Aeromon has researched this in cooperation with HSY, Tampere University of Technology and the Finnish Meteorological Institute on Mäkelänkatu street in Helsinki.

Harnessing drones in the mapping of hazards or risks

Combined with drones, today's advanced sensor technology enables reliable real-time measurements in locations where this was previously impossible. For example, a drone can be sent to sniff around for the risk of an explosion or radiation exposure. In this field, Aeromon has analysed issues such as the risk of spontaneous ignition in biomass heaps. Jouko Salo regards hazard and risk prevention as another major growth area.

Rapid development and extensive application opportunities are the key to success

In Finland, Aeromon provides measurements to customers as a service; in other words, the customer buys the measurement results, not the equipment. Aeromon plans the measurements in cooperation with the customer and the results can be combined with data produced by the customer.

Jouko Salo is thrilled by Aeromon's rapid development: "I am delighted that, in just two years and with the support of Tekes, we have created a technology and service package that enables us to participate in, and win, international competitive tenders." Speed is keeping Aeromon one step ahead of its potential competitors.

The European-wide emission monitoring system ordered by EMSA is currently under construction, and actual measurement operations will begin in the spring of 2017. Extensive application opportunities for a combined solution, comprising a drone and a set of sensors, promise a bright future for Aeromon.

"The sky is the limit in terms of growth," Jouko Salo concludes.

For further information, please contact

Jouko Salo
jouko.salo(at)aeromon.fi
Tel. +358 40 526 2122

Piia Moilanen
piia.moilanen(at)tekes.fi
Tel. +358 50 5577 748


Text: Paula Eskola, Motiva
Picture: Aeromon

Drone

Goes by many names: unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), quadcopter

Why in Finland?
- a lot of free airspace, which makes testing easier
- liberal, business-friendly legislation
- high-quality ICT competencies

What is the market like?
- a multi-billion market with annual growth of over 10%
- Areas of application:

  • monitoring
  • measurement
  • transport
  • security
  • rescue
  • photography and filming
  • entertainment
Sanna Nuutila