Water metering gets smart



UK technology providers Sentec have won a grant for research and development (formerly SMART award) from the Department of Trade and Industry for the development of an accurate, solid-state water meter for residential applications. The DTI’s grants aim to support research and development that produces techno-logically innovative and commercially attractive products and processes. Sentec has created a new electromagnetic (magflow) sensor which uses a number of innovations in the sensing element and associated electronics to break unit cost and power consumption barriers in magflow metering.

The sensor will allow magflow meters to break into the residential market in high volumes and bring a number of benefits to water utilities, including higher accuracy at low flows and over the whole lifetime of the meter. Inherent reliability, continuous flow measurement, long lifetime, affordable AMR and more meter ‘intelli-gence’.

A patent has been applied for, and the sensor is already the subject of licence discussions with several prominent water meter manufacturers. The meter will have very low power consumption, allowing a minimum battery life of ten years. The project funded by the grant will demonstrate this, and the required levels of accuracy, and that the technology can meet the aggressive manufacturing cost targets that will be needed to enter the residential market.