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Electrochemical Instruments for Environmental Monitoring


Development of On-Line System Based on a Long-Lived Sensor for Measuring Concentrations of Toxic Elements in River Water

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk

Supporting institutes

  • IVA Co., Ltd, Russia, Sverdlovsk reg., Ekaterinburg


  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, Madrid\nErnst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald / Institut für Pathologie / Institute fur Chemie, Germany, Greifswald\nUniversidade de Coimbra, Portugal, Coimbra\nUniversity of London / Queen Mary & Westfied College, UK, London

Project summary

The Project No. 342 dealt with the problems of the environmental monitoring. The fulfillment of the first phase of this Project led to the development and fabrication of unique electrochemical sensors, which were covered by Russian patent (RF Patent No. 2124720, priority of 18.02.97). International applications within the PCT system were filed for those sensors with the help from the ISTC. The sensors are sold in Russia and abroad. Some companies (METROHM, Switzerland; EcoChemie, Netherlands; ESA, USA) perform studies with the use of the said sensors bearing in mind their further commercialization.

A pilot lot of the laboratory analyzers was developed and manufactured. First instruments were delivered to interested organizations for tests. Orders have been collected and a lot-scale production is planned.

The second phase of the Project was concerned with the development and the manufacture of the laboratory model of a universal automatic on-line system intended to monitor natural and waste waters. A new approach, which was proposed for realization of such systems, envisaged the use of a sensor with replaceable surface and a four-electrode electrolyzer (RF Patent No. 2150108, priority of 17.11.98). As opposed to other existing systems, our electrolyzer combines the operations of sample pretreatment and measurement of very small concentrations of toxic elements. We are aware of just one analogous instrument (Australia), in which toxic mercury is used, samples are not pretreated and less number of toxic elements can be determined. The application in the environmental monitoring was not reported. We performed a marketing study, which showed good outlooks for the commercialization of the automatic on-line systems intended to monitor natural and waste waters.

Additional works, which were not planned for the second phase of the Project, need be performed, including simplification of the system, transference data development and system adjustment to specific technical tasks of monitoring the liquid waste at some enterprises, e.g., nonferrous metallurgical plants. It is necessary to find technical solutions reducing the production cost.

Moreover, the field of application of the newly developed sensors and instruments can be considerably extended. For example, the on-line system can be built into a technological process of, e.g., zinc production. It may serve as the core of an automatic control and management system ensuring large saving of reagents and electric power and improving the quality of ready products. As far as we know, this niche is vacant on the market.

Also, our sensors and instruments can be successfully used for diagnosing in medicine: determination of the concentration of metal ions in blood and urine and evaluation of the redox equilibrium in the human organism.

So, the following works should be done during the third phase of the Project No. 342:

– improve the on-line system and adjust it to the automatic monitoring of liquid wastes and control of technological processes;

– elaborate methods for determining toxic and essential elements in blood and urine;
– investigation and select a mediator system for assessing the redox condition of the human organism.

An effective team including the employees of ITP-RFNC and "IVA" Co. Ltd. was formed during the execution of the Project No. 342. Extremely useful business relations were established with foreign collaborators. For example, in cooperation with Mr. J. Hambleton, who provided the financial support, the analyzer was presented at "Environmental and Resource Technology" Co. (Edinburg). Mr. I. Matheson, who is the director of this company, noted a high sensitivity and rapid operation of the instrument. He expressed his interest in using the instrument for analysis of natural and waste waters.


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