SENSEI is an advanced in-situ sensor system that gives mining operators and water managers real-time data to monitor and manage groundwater impacts efficiently and quickly.
Replacing labour-intensive manual monitoring techniques, SENSEI is a multi-sensor system capable of simultaneously collecting data on pH, reduction potential, temperature and conductivity.
SENSEI is an autonomous off-grid system which delivers continuous data streams from remote locations. Powered by a solar panel, the data is transmitted via an internet connection direct from the source and into the digital cloud, giving user the ability to access and analyse the information on-site or from farther afield.
Dr Kathie McGregor, research leader at CSIRO, said the SENSEI system offers a revolutionary solution to groundwater monitoring methods currently used.
She added: "SENSEI is an automated system which delivers reliable groundwater data in real time, saving companies time and money on labour from traditional manual monitoring approaches."
The solid-state multi-sensor array features CSIRO's patented pH sensor and reference electrode innovation based on advanced sensor chemistry and materials.
The robust sensor unit can be embedded into groundwater wells and aquifers and deliver continuous data for months without the need for manual calibration or maintenance.
Third-party sensors can also be integrated into the systems attached to the solid-state multi-sensor array.
With real-time analytical capability, SENSEI can provide early alerts so companies can mitigate environmental issues arising in groundwater management.
Dr McGregor said: "Because data can be accessed immediately on-site or remotely via the cloud, the user has the ability to detect any anomalies quickly and take action as soon as possible."
SENSEI has been built to withstand extreme environments and has already been successfully trialled at Heathgate Resources' Four Mile West mine in South Australia.
"We've been able to test SENSEI's performance in a real-world setting and are pleased to report the system is still operational after almost 12 months of testing in the field," Dr McGregor explained.
SENSEI has been designed and tested for use in groundwater monitoring but could be adapted for other applications which need chemical and physical monitoring in extreme environments.
CSIRO is now looking for partners to bring the technology to market.