SENTRY, which has offices in Ottawa, Ontario, and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, markets an innovative real-time, bio-electrode sensor for monitoring the activity of microbial biofilm in water and wastewater treatment plants.
Dr. Patrick Kiely, CEO & Founder states that the SENTRY technology is the only one on the market that provides continuous information from the biology in the wastewater treatment plants. The company’s technology simplifies the process for operators who are typically inundated with superfluous information they do not need.
The robust sensor sends real-time data to an online visual dashboard, which is easy to install and virtually maintenance free. SENTRY’s monitoring centre provides real-time warning notifications to operators directly as well as statistical analysis that can determine the best times to schedule plant maintenance and opportunities for optimization.
SENTRY test results typically take up to 5 days to receive and can reduce manual sampling requirements by up to 80 percent. Not only is this return on investment compelling, but SENTRY also acts as a water quality insurance policy given that the technology reports issues immediately, not days later.
Achieving global export success
Since launching in April 2018, SENTRY has developed an impressive client list. Canadian municipal wastewater treatment clients include the City of Toronto, Barrie, Kingston, and Waterloo.
Dr. Kiely says typical customers are large municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities and industrial food/beverage processors. The traditional manual wastewater sampling process is tedious, time consuming, and labour intensive. Numerous individual tests are required and are typically conducted with a series of manual grab samples.
Furthermore, the technology has achieved global export success in markets such as the United States, China, and Europe.
The most recent global success story is a SENTRY installation at an Organica wastewater treatment plant in Budapest, Hungary. This plant treats as much as 80,000 m3/day, approximately one-third of Budapest’s municipal water flow. SENTRY identified some of key triggers to system imbalance (inflow and infiltration) and determined the days of the week and time of day with the highest organic strength to the facility.
Based on this information, Organica was able to make intelligent decisions regarding plant operations, and scheduling internal recycle times for additional off-site material. This real-time data gave operators enough time to adjust to changing wastewater conditions, which resulted in improved plant performance while significantly reducing operational costs and the quantity of on-site water quality analysis.
The challenge of customer procurement
One of the challenges that Dr. Kiely has faced in growing SENTRY is understanding what drives his customer procurement.
“Having more knowledge about annual buying cycles and budget limits at different managerial levels would be extremely helpful in securing sales within Canadian municipal water treatment facilities,” he says. “If a Canadian database were available this would be enormously helpful in defining SENTRY’s sales strategy.”
Working with WaterTAP
Dr. Kiely points out that early stage companies only require resources at critical stages in the growth cycle. “Being able to tap into WaterTAP’s has bee invaluable to Sentry,” he says. “Without WaterTAP, I really don’t think we would have been able to find the right people that we needed for our continued growth.”
Through the support of WaterTAP, Sentry has been able to receive invaluable funding from the National Research Council’s IRAP program. Dr. Kiely states that both IRAP funding and access to the WaterTAP integration hub have been instrumental in getting Sentry to market and expanding globally.