CIT researchers get smart to tackle grease traps

It will prove a godsend for the catering industry, taking the drudge out of sludge by ensuring drains don’t get clogged up with grease.

Researchers at Cork Institute of Technology have come up with a ‘smart system’ which will help prevent grease blocking drains.

Experts at CIT’s Nimbus Centre have received a grant of €263,000 from Enterprise Ireland to commercialise the water-network maintenance device known as Fogmon.

It monitors grease traps using smart systems, providing preventative diagnosis and informing the owner when action is required to maintain a trouble-free operation.

Grease traps are a frequent source of trouble for businesses in the catering industry; costly to repair and difficult to diagnose.

Unknown to the public, there are tens of thousands of such traps in the country, regularly blocking up, overflowing, and causing potential issues for water supplies in our towns and cities.

A CIT spokeswoman said that without grease traps, the water system we take for granted would clog up in weeks.

“The international opportunity for this technology is enormous with in excess of 10m such traps in the USA alone,” she said.

“The system allows for retrofitting to existing systems. Maintenance contractors can avoid unnecessary journeys, while ensuring they get to a trouble-spot in time to prevent pipe blockages.”

This is another example of the application of Nimbus Centre smart technology to solve issues with ageing infrastructure and develop a practical solution that saves time, hassle, and money, while also providing employment through technology development and exports.

The prime benefit will be avoiding a full grease trap creating a major problem in a pipe, which might then have to be dug up and completely replaced.

The project will be carried out over the next 18 months. Field trials will take place to prove the concept is viable.

It’s hoped that contractors can then roll out the new equipment and monitoring system to businesses like hotels and restaurants, generating new jobs and exports.

Nimbus is an expert centre for embedded systems, where they develop sensors, data transmission, and computer systems for everyday products and situations.

It employs more than 60 highly skilled technical staff, and has a strong track record of engaging with industry — over 400 companies to date — to create new ideas and start-up businesses.

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