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Start-up companies sought to provide a solution for recording the level of condensate separators in a gas network

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TRDE20200616001
Publication Date: 23 June 2020


A German smart city datahub company is looking for a partner with sensor technology to record the level of underground condensate separators in a gas network and to transmit the data via LoRaWAN to an existing platform. As this technology request refers to an innovation challenge for start-up companies published on an open innovation platform, only start-ups are sought for technical cooperation agreements.


In a gas distribution network, condensate separators are installed to collect any liquids (e.g. water ingress and condensate from steam and other parts of the natural gas) within the distribution networks. Overflowing of the condensate separators must be avoided urgently, otherwise the supply may fail. Since the levels of the condensate separators cannot be determined at present, they are regularly emptied independently of their actual level. The effort required for this is high, as the separators are installed underground. The absolute fill level should be measured. In addition different kinds of liquids (e.g. water and other fluids), which sediment in the gas network, should be  measured as well. 

In order to avoid unnecessary effort and associated costs as well as in order to increase the condition monitoring of the distribution network, a German datahub company is looking for a sensor solution that records the level of these separators and transmits the data via LoRaWAN.

The German company is a service provider for a future smart city with a population of nearly 600,000 in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. They specifically combine sensor technology (Internet-of-Things), modern digital lifelines and intelligent data services in a one-platform-approach. This results in solutions that improve the digital economy and life in the city.

The challenge within this solution results from the following points:

1. The sensor must be so robust that it can be installed underground and is durable and low-maintenance. The data transmission equipment as well as the power supply of the sensor should be accessible above ground.

2. The sensor must be able to measure the level through the material of the condensate collectors

3. The determined levels should be sent to an existing IoT platform via the LoRaWAN transmission protocol

4. The sensors should be installed within in the existing network without high efforts for implementation (i.e. without civil engineering work)

Start-up companies from the sensing sector are sought for technical cooperation to jointly develop a solution.

IMPORTANT: This technology request refers to an innovation challenge published on an open internet platformin that was issued by a major city in North Rhine-Westphalia.. If a start-up expresses an interest before the closing date of 15 August, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform. The start-up company takes part in the challenge with this application. If it is selected, it will be invited to spend five working days in workshops with the company on a solution concept as well as in training workshops on the German market and on market entry to the regional ecosystem.

All submissions will get feedback from the German company on this open platform. The challenge closes on August 15, 2020. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential. Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the firm will select the start-ups with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution.

Expertise sought

The partner should have expertise in sensing equipment.
Requirements are:

- Robust low-maintenance sensor for underground application
- Measuring should be possible through materials, such as steel, cast iron and polyethylene
- LoRaWAN compatibility is necessary
- The sensors should be easy to install
- Upgrading of existing networks should be possible

Requested partner

The German company is looking for a technical cooperation agreement with a start-up company that has epertise in special sensing tasks. The solution for the measurement process should be developed together by the partners. The German company will give specifications and test opportunities and the partner will provide the sensing and transmitting know-how and technology.

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