Monitor that detects water impurities wins award

A Cardiff University collaboration that created a real-time monitor to detect and warn of impurities in water supplies has been successful at the university’s annual innovation awards.

The 2011 innovation award went to a collaboration between the university’s School of Biosciences and Cymtox, which created one of the first continuous water toxicity monitors.

The new monitor works by using bioluminescence to detect the presence of potentially toxic substances of chemical or biological origin in marine river or lake water that may have become polluted, and then immediately warns of suspicious changes.

A spin-out company, based on the work into the technology by Prof David Lloyd from the School of Biosciences, was created in 2004 at Cardiff Business Technology Centre with financial help from the Cardiff Partnership Fund and support from the Welsh Assembly.

In 2006, following investment from IP Group, Modern Water was established via a £30m AIM flotation to exploit the Cymtox technology along with that of Cardiff University stablemate Poseidon Water.

Nicola Randles, chief executive of Cymtox, now owned by Modern Water, said: ’Not only have we realised a unique product but we have developed a business that has created 30 jobs. Units have been sold in China to monitor drinking water intake on river waters and [the product] is presently being trialled in the UK.’