7.10 Continuous monitoring of water quality through sensor data fusion

Sensors that are applied in water technology applications are usually designed to measure one specific parameter. To control complex processes, such as prevention of corrosion or optimization and control of water treatment techniques, multiple measurements are required. Moreover, (wireless) sensor networks can be used to monitor large water bodies, water distribution networks or large industrial applications (e.g. water level sensors, leakage detection etc.). Application of multiple high quality, high temporal resolution sensors is in most cases too complex and costly and results in massive data generating entities. A promising alternative is to transform data from simpler sensors into information, retrieving more information on the system parameters than the measured parameter of interest only. This can be achieved by sensor data fusion. Sensor data fusion has been defined as: “…a method of combining sensor data from multiple sensors to produce more accurate, more complete, and more dependable information that could not be possible to achieve through a single sensor”. Development of new algorithms is required to realize this new type of robust and continuous sensor systems.

Research challenge
To make use of sensor data fusion, sensors should be complementary, redundant and cooperative. Complementary means that several parameters should be measured. Redundancy in these measurements leads to higher accuracy in the parameter to be determined. Cooperative sensors can identify events which are linked by more than one parameter, but are undetectable by measuring the parameters separately. The focus is on development of algorithms for combining existing sensor technologies to solve complex and / or expensive process monitoring and control problems.
After an assessment of water quality monitoring techniques and opportunities for sensor data fusion, a concrete existing case for making a proof of concept is defined. For the existing case, new algorithms are developed to realize a robust and continuous sensor system.
The resulting algorithms and experience obtained from the proof of concept will be used to develop a more general approach towards application of sensor data fusion and to realize a physical model for applying sensor data fusion in water technology applications.

We are looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in the field of physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, or computer science and interested in the combination of practical and theoretical work. A multidisciplinary background is required and experience with electronics, measurements and programming is helpful.

The research project is part of the Wetsus research theme Sensoring. The following companies are part of the theme: Grundfos (, Evoqua (, Easymeasure (

Promotor: tbd
Wetsus supervisors: dr. ir. Martijn Wagterveld, dr. ir. Mateo Mayer
For more information contact Martijn Wagterveld:

Please do NOT send your CV directly to this email address. Only complete applications sent via the website will be evaluated (How to Apply).

Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

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