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Valencia's Helium-Powered IoT Project Aims to Alleviate Energy Poverty

By Greg Tavarez

Valencia, Spain – a captivating Mediterranean destination that entices residents and travelers with its vibrant culture, architecture and cuisine. Whether folks are visiting the City of Arts and Sciences complex or historic landmarks like the iconic Valencia Cathedral, shopping at the Central Market, or watching a football match at the Mestalla, the city seamlessly blends tradition and innovation.

However, Spain’s third largest city grapples with a pressing issue known as energy poverty, affecting nearly a quarter of its total households. This situation demands affordable and reliable eco-friendly energy services; without them in the long term, there are projected consequences on health and overall well-being, including respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular problems, mental disorders and acute health issues like hypothermia, injuries and flu.

The Fundació Clima i Energia in Valencia is responding to this challenge by implementing cost-effective, high-impact air quality sensor deployments, which will enhance the well-being of the entire region and combat the health risks associated with energy poverty.

Under the leadership and installation efforts of Valencia's Fundació Clima i Energia, more than 130 air quality sensors using LoRaWAN have been deployed throughout the city in technological collaboration with Damal Redes, with more deployments expected in 2024.

Damal Redes, a renowned Valencia-based company established in March 2007, specializes in information and communications technologies. Valencia's Fundació Clima i Energia leads and supervises the Wellbased and Ebento projects, with Damal Redes serving as their trusted technological collaborator. Wellbased distributed sensors throughout the city of Valencia to address energy poverty, and Ebento is focused on enhancing energy efficiency in buildings and plans to deploy 52 sensors across two buildings in the city.

These projects utilize atmospheric sensors that measure dry temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 concentration, offering insights into the environmental conditions within the participants' homes.

To advance its mission in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 203 under the Covenant of Mayors initiative, Valencia integrated the Helium Network.

The Helium Network is a decentralized wireless network that enables devices anywhere in the world to wirelessly connect to the internet and geolocate themselves without the need for power-hungry satellite location hardware or expensive cellular plans. The network uses the LoRaWAN system, and thousands of existing solutions, sensors, devices and gateways can be easily configured to run on both the Helium cellular and global networks.

The Helium Network enables low-cost network and peace of mind in connectivity and is utilized in various applications such as smart city applications, workplace solutions and university campuses.

"By leveraging the Helium Network, we've realized an astounding 98% success rate in installing sensors in low-income residences and construction sites,” said Jose Antonio Hernández, IoT Technical Lead at Damal Redes. “This allows us to continuously monitor CO2 levels, weather patterns, and other crucial data. No other technology can match this capability."

Damal Redes' partnership with Helium is a move towards making real-world change. As a part of a larger movement against energy poverty, this collaboration emerges as a fundamental piece of Valencia's broader energy strategy.

“We have the technology to address an equality issue that affects many of the world’s urban centers and deprives residents of fundamental energy needs,” said Abhay Kumar, CEO of the Helium Foundation. “It’s gratifying to work alongside Damal Redes and LoRa Alliance member companies to deploy on the Helium Network in Valencia, allowing for real-time environmental data that can result in meaningful change.”

Edited by Alex Passett
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