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A TEG-based Non-intrusive Ultrasonic System for Autonomous Water Flow Rate Measurement

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Serhii Mileiko, Darren Mackie, Dr Rishad Shafik, Dr Domenico Balsamo



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2023.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Abstract—Residential water meters accommodate various methods of power provisioning. Electromagnetic and ultrasonic meters, for example, often rely on a battery-like external power source, whereas mechanical meters harvest energy from water flow through an impeller. Although energy harvesting (EH) minimizes maintenance needs driven by battery depletion/replenishment, placing a physical element into the flow adversely affects water pressure. This intrusive EH/sensing technique is not user-friendly either since the meters with impellers need to be embedded into pipes by skilled personnel. Hence, this paper proposes a non-intrusive sensor system powered by thermoelectric generators (TEGs) for plug-and-play water flow rate measurement. This system, equipped with a custom-made energy management unit (EMU), adopts ultrasonic sensors, a task-based computing scheme, and a LoRa module for autonomous sensing and reporting of the flow rate. After summarizing thermoelectricity and delta time-of-flight (∆ToF)-based ultrasonic sensing theory, we provide the system model and design details with a particular focus on the EMU. Then, we experimentally evaluate the system under varying conditions, demonstrating their impact on average sensing and transmission periods. The results unveil that our proposal can achieve high measurement precision (±1.4%), comparable to its intrusive and battery-powered counterparts, and thus has the potential to replace residential water meters.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mileiko S, Cetinkaya O, Mackie D, Shafik R, Balsamo D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing

Year: 2023

Volume: 8

Issue: 3

Pages: 363-374

Online publication date: 12/01/2023

Acceptance date: 03/01/2023

Date deposited: 02/03/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2377-3782

Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


DOI: 10.1109/TSUSC.2023.3236524

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/d984-xn55


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