LG Sonic goes all out at Aquatech for new solutions to fight algae blooms
One of the bigger booths at the Aquatech Amsterdam 2023 trade fair is LG Sonic’s, a Dutch fast growing company specialised in fighting harmful algae in lakes. According to Lisa Maria Brand, its Chief Technical Officer, it is their biggest booth ever, allowing them to show their whole range of products, including three new ones.
It all started in 2011 as a small Dutch start-up that launched a remarkable floating buoy. LG Sonic developed this buoy to emit low power ultrasonic waves that eliminate harmful algae in lakes. Shortly thereafter, the company started to use satellite data to trace algae blooms and find ways to control their growth. The start-up became a scale up and is now firmly established. “We have customers with buoys in 55 countries,” says Lisa Maria Brand, LG Sonic’s Chief Technology Officer, at Aquatech Amsterdam. “We recently started using new technologies to fight algae blooms, so we needed more space to show everything.”
The wider range of technology is a logical step, Brand explains. “In order to operate our buoys more efficiently, we needed more data. So we designed a sensor to collect real time water quality data at various depths. As phosphate is the main driver of algae bloom, we designed a special new sensor to measure real time phosphate concentrations at various depths. Now we can feed all this data into our software and create a 3D image. We can work with our client to use this image to analyse the behaviour of the lake and the blooms”. LG Sonic even developed a digital twin to simulate changing circumstances and learn more about how a bloom may occur and how it can be controlled. “The ultimate goal is to stand by our clients and make a lake fully resilient to algae blooms,” Brand continues.
Improve whole ecosystem
Most of LG Sonic’s clients are water utilities that draw water from lakes or coastal zones. If these surface waters are polluted with harmful algae, the utilities have a hard time removing the cyanotoxins that these algae produce. According to Brand, the problem is increasing globally. Water temperatures are rising and this boosts the growth of algae. Droughts make water levels drop which concentrates the phosphate. “The harmful algae kills the fish and the plants, and the oxygen disappears. So you need to bring a change to the whole ecosystem,” Brand explains. “People think that preventing the discharge of phosphate into lakes will solve the algae problem. That is not the case. Lakes have been polluted for decades and the phosphate is stored in the sediment. It is then released under certain conditions.”
Three new products
LG Sonic is introducing three new products at Aquatech Amsterdam: the vertical profiler, the phosphate sensor and the trace metal analyser. Despite all the data that LG Sonic collects from all their buoys and sensors around the world, Brand admits that it is still hard to predict the behaviour of an ecosystem. “That makes it very exciting to work with our clients and learn more about making the whole ecosystem more resilient to algae blooms every day. At Aquatech we meet water utilities from around the world. Our new products can help them better prevent these blooms, so they no longer need to remove algal toxins from their drinking water.”
Another reason for LG Sonic to expand their range of products is the fact that it is attracting more and more water boards as clients. “In these types of projects, we not only treat the lake, but we also monitor the entire watershed, including rivers around the basins. We now offer special applications of our products to these clients.”