Category Archives: Introduction

3A Water

3A Water is our team in the Helsinki Challenge competition, which develops a new method for water analysis. With our method, we can measure metal concentrations in waters quickly and cheaply on-site instead of the expensive and time-consuming laboratory analyses currently used.


Have you ever been travelling or trekking somewhere and run out of drinking water? Did you wondered if the water in the stream you found is safe to drink? When you end up in these kinds of situations, it is easy to understand that water is the most important resource in the world. It is necessary for all life on earth and a requirement for high standard of living. It is not enough just to have access to water but it also has to be clean and the people need to be confident that it is safe to use.

Here in Finland, among the thousands of lakes, we have abundance of clean water. Not everyone is so fortunate, and also the purity of our waters can be compromised in an instant. Water pollution may originate from industrial waste or industrial hazards. Unfortunately, environmental risks related to mining industry have become very familiar to the Finnish people in the past few years. We cannot just blame the industry for metals that exist in natural waters because also the nature itself can be a source of pollution. In Finland, many households get their drinking water from their private wells and it is not uncommon to find harmful levels of for example arsenic or uranium in the water.

Need for a new solution

Imagine reading from a newspaper that there is a suspicion that toxic metals were released to a lake by which you are spending your summer holiday. Imagine if this happened to water that is your only source of drinking water. How long would you be ready to wait until you know if the water is safe? Even if you were lucky, you would have to wait for several days until laboratory measurements would be done and the results would be released.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. We are developing a nanotechnology-based method that can tell the amounts of metals in any water source just in 15 minutes. You just need to get the measurement device to the water source and within a day you can have a comprehensive map of the metal contents of waters in the local area.

We want to make a difference

We focus our method in solving three issues:

Our method is well suited to ensure that drinking water does not contain harmful levels of toxic metals. It is especially useful in areas where access to laboratory analyses is limited, for example in developing world.

We can also monitor metal levels in the environment quickly and efficiently. Within a day, several measurements can be made in a certain area and the metal levels in this area can be mapped. For example, in a case of an industrial hazard the source of metal pollution can be quickly localized, counter measures can be started and the local population can be given accurate real-time information.

Quality of the water that circulates in industrial processes is also very important. Our method can give real-time information that can be used to optimize the process, reduce waste and monitor the quality of wastewater.

We are enthusiastic about our method because we believe it can have a real-world impact on the lives of ordinary people, reduce environmental waste as well as optimize industrial processes.

Please follow the blog to get more information about the team, our technology and our progress in the Helsinki Challenge competition. Contact us by email or follow us in twitter @3A_water @tuomonis @JoakimRii.