07 Quantum Sensing
Research & Innovation
Sensing Applications
Societal Impact
06 June 2024Malon van der Toorn

Centre for Quantum and Society, TNO, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Evides explore quantum sensing application for measurements in water

On May 29, experts from drinking water company Evides, TNO, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Center for Quantum and Society explored how quantum technology can help measure unwanted and unknown substances in river water.

Evides Water Company supplies safe and clean drinking water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to 2.5 million consumers and companies in the southwest of South Holland, the province of Zeeland and the southwest of North Brabant. In addition, Evides Industriewater offers innovative tailor-made solutions for large industrial customers.

Climate change causes strong fluctuations in the availability of water, and technical developments result in unknown substances in the water. Evides is therefore always looking for new ways to monitor the quality of river water quickly, accurately and affordably.

During the workshop, it was investigated how new measuring methods, based on quantum sensing, could potentially contribute to water purification in the long term. It is expected that these innovations can speed up and improve detection and measurements - make them cheaper, more practical and more precise. We then looked ahead at how we can apply quantum sensing in a responsible manner. To this end, the central values that underlie the application of technology by Evides were identified.

The consequences of those values for technology, context of application and the people who work with them were then mapped out. The question was raised how these new measuring methods can contribute to values such as health, safety and transparency. The value of flexibility appears to be increasingly important: rumors, incidents or sometimes disinformation can instantly lead to entirely new questions about water quality and thus to new, sometimes temporary, measurement needs. Sustainability is also an important value: if we start measuring on a large scale, this means a large distribution of sensors, an enormous amount of data and a need for computing power.

“It is important to look at quantum technology and how we can use it from a broader perspective: from our social responsibility, how we should deal with the major changes in the quality and availability of river water. If we know what we need, we can ask science and industry for it and ensure that it is delivered.”

Barend KosterDomain Architect at DG Water en Bodem

In the discussion about the impact of the values for technology, environment and people, an important conclusion was that it is not self-evident that the application that Evides and society need will also be developed by the market. That is why collaboration with scientists is important in this phase of technology development. There must also be sufficient knowledge about quantum sensing within Evides to ensure that products that the sector and other stakeholders need eventually come onto the market. It is crucial that their needs are translated into standards, such as the format of data, confidentiality and quality of data, measurement methods and accuracy of measurement and sustainability.

“I found the workshop very valuable because I realized that with quantum technology we are at the beginning of a co-creation process: in which, with the help of scientists, we will discover what opportunities it offers us and with whom we need to work together to realize those opportunities: so we can develop a good policy on this technology in the water sector.”

Gerry van MeijelInformation Manager Evides

TNO is actively researching the possibilities of quantum technology, in collaboration with partners.

“Today's workshop highlighted the urgent measurement challenges in the water sector. Quantum sensors can potentially help in solving these issues, so it is highly motivating to do these workshops to align the technology development with application needs.”

Simon CramerQuantum Sensing, TNO

The workshop, based on the methodology of the EQTA (Exploratory Quantum Technology Assessment) developed by the Center for Quantum and Society (Quantum Delta NL), contributes to a future in which we can respond faster and more efficiently to challenges in water quality. Not only because these innovations actually improve our drinking water supply, but also because research into quantum technology and the needs of society are more closely linked through such collaboration. It is precisely in this phase that it is important to develop initiatives to realize the ethical/legal, social, technical and organizational preconditions necessary to use these future innovations responsibly, optimally and as quickly as possible.

You can read the EQTA here.

Do you have other questions, for example about workshops? Please contact Quantum and Society via daniël.frijters@ecp.nl or send an email to cqs@quantumdelta.nl

Get in touch with

Daniël Frijtersdaniel.frijters@ecp.nl

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