aAeroqual is leading the move towards sensor-based air quality monitoring, a technology and market shift that promises to deliver better air quality for governments, industry, and citizens alike.
Established in 2001, Aeroqual has spent more than a decade perfecting sensor-based air quality measurements in a variety of applications and climates in more than 50 countries worldwide. The company’s products have been tried and tested by blue chip customers such as Dubai Municipality, Vale, EDF Energy, and Samsung. As the shift towards sensor-based air quality monitoring accelerates Aeroqual is setting the standard for others to follow.
Sensors have many advantages over traditional measurement techniques but so far few companies have been able to produce credible and defensible air quality measurements. This is especially true in outdoor ambient monitoring applications where low detection levels and environmental factors make sensor-based measurement extremely challenging.
Making defensible air quality measurements using relatively low cost sensors requires unique skills and experience. Aeroqual has deep and multi-disciplinary expertise covering:
- Sensor design, fabrication and calibration
- Signal processing and algorithms
- Instrument design and development
- Application and support of instruments in the field
- Atmospheric science
As well as possessing world class technology Aeroqual has invested in bespoke production facilities in Auckland, New Zealand and operates a quality management system certified to ISO 9001:2008. Our people are experts in the field, determined to help customers realize the benefits from sensor-based air quality measurement.
IIt began back in 2000 when two scientists, Dr Geoff Henshaw and Professor David Williams, started thinking about better, cheaper ways to measure air quality.
Henshaw and Williams wanted to gather air quality data for a study, and lots of it. Frustrated by the high cost and low mobility of analyzer technology, they wondered if low cost sensors could be used instead. They envisioned a network of sensors deployed across a city, measuring and transmitting air quality data wirelessly and in real-time. Using their expertise in heated metal oxide sensors they set about building a prototype, founded Aeroqual, and applied for one of the company’s first patents.
Then in 2001 the US Food and Drug Administration approved ozone as a sterilizing agent and that prompted a change in Aeroqual’s direction. One prototype sensor was particularly good at measuring ozone and this led to a small but promising business providing ozone monitors to the growing ozone industry in the US. Professor Williams continued his research at the University of Auckland while Henshaw stayed on as Chief Technology Officer. Aeroqual grew from two to a team of ten full time employees, selling products all over the world.
But the idea of using low cost sensors to measure air quality across wide open spaces never went away. So when a customer asked the team if they could make a multi-sensor instrument for measuring outdoor air quality, they jumped on it. That project led to the creation of the AQM 60 compact air quality station. Customers from developing countries with poor air quality and limited air monitoring infrastructure showed huge interest in the AQM 60, and Aeroqual had found another winner.
In 2012 the company had tripled in size and was selling more products in more places than ever before. But the business had become complex and needed help embedding systems and processes necessary for sustainable growth. Staff and shareholders wanted a clearer sense of purpose and decided on a change of management. Mark Templeton, already a director of the company, stepped in as CEO in June 2012, joined by Carl Beck in charge of sales and marketing. The continued presence of Dr Henshaw and most of the staff ensured little was lost in the transition.
Two years later and we have gone back to our original vision – providing people, companies and governments with cost effective and reliable air quality information using networks of sensor-based instruments.
MMaking defensible air quality measurements using low cost sensors requires unique skills and experience. Aeroqual has deep and multi-disciplinary expertise covering:
Sensor design, fabrication and calibration
Signal processing and algorithms
Instrument design and development
Application and support of instruments in the field
Our expertise in heated metal oxide sensor can be traced back to the Atomic Energy Research Centre at Harwell in the UK in the 1980s. Professor David Williams was part of a group working on advanced sensing technologies and went on to build a centre of excellence at University College of London. A New Zealander, Prof Williams invited a number of young Kiwi scientists to join him to carry out post doctoral research, including Aeroqual’s CTO Dr Geoff Henshaw.
That expertise in heated metal oxide sensors has evolved into what we call gas sensitive semiconductor (GSS) technology. GSS technology covers the sensor, circuit, controls, packaging, and calibration needed to get the very best out of a sensor in any given application. We use GSS technology to derive ppb level measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds.
In recent years we have applied the technology to other kinds of sensors including electrochemical, near dispersive infrared (NDIR), and photo-ionisation detectors (PID), as well as optical sensors for measuring particulate. Using different kinds of sensor technologies means we can use the strengths of one type to complement the weakness of another – resulting in a better set of measurements over all.
At our bespoke production facilities in Auckland, New Zealand, we continue our rich tradition of science and innovation. In terms of technology our aim is simply to make the best possible air quality measurements using sensors.