Project Overview

Willow Island, West Virginia is a small community along the Ohio River. In 1978, it was probably best known as the location of a large, coal-burning power plant. But nowadays, the town has a future in hydropower.

American Municipal Power (AMP) Ohio, an electric utility company, has been financing the construction of a new hydroelectric facility that will use the Ohio River’s water to provide clean energy to the region. The company is retrofitting an existing structure owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Willow Island Locks and Dam.

Groundbreaking for the project took place in 2011 and work to complete the hydroelectric turbines and generators continues. Along with those efforts, project managers are concerned with getting hydropower generation up and running once construction is complete. That necessitates collecting background data on the river’s temperature and dissolved oxygen levels.

To gather those baseline measurements, officials at AMP Ohio worked with NexSens Technology to source the equipment needed for monitoring along the Ohio River. The gear included data loggers, sensors and web datacenter services.

System Description

In order to track conditions around the dams, AMP Ohio officials sourced two NexSens 3100-MAST Data Loggers. Each of these is powered by solar panels and equipped with cellular telemetry for wireless data transmission to operators as measurements come in.

One logger is deployed upstream of the dam. Connected to this and mounted in a protective pipe in the Ohio River is a PONSEL DIGISENS Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor. The sensor uses optical DO technology for improved performance and reduced maintenance. It features an integrated temperature sensor to track Ohio River temperatures in addition to dissolved oxygen. This sensor stores all calibration data internally so technicians can easily calibrate the probe using a field computer during periodic maintenance visits.

A copy of the setup is also deployed downstream of the dam, where another NexSens 3100-MAST and PONSEL DIGISENS Optical DO Sensor work together to capture the Ohio River’s temperature and dissolved oxygen levels.

Taken together, data from the two loggers are sent to those involved with the project in real time via cellular telemetry. They are then published to a private WQData LIVE web datacenter where managers can view them from anywhere with a login.

Equipment

NexSens MAST Wireless Telemetry Systems

This fully pre-configured system utilizes cellular, radio, or satellite telemetry and solar charging to create a truly plug-and-play data collection and sensor interface platform.


PONSEL DIGISENS Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor

The PONSEL optical dissolved oxygen sensor uses luminescence to determine dissolved oxygen levels and output data in a digital format.


NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter

WQData LIVE is a secure web datacenter providing an online interface for viewing environmental data. It offers 24/7 instant access to project data using any web browser.