press release
Published: 13 March 2024

Made in Surrey: Robots flying kites to monitor greenhouse gas emissions

New devices that can monitor gas emissions – and which way the wind is blowing them – will be built at the University of Surrey, thanks to a £620,000 grant.  


The team will build new, lightweight wireless gas sensors. These will be attached to helium kites and flown by an autonomous robot. Researchers hope the new devices will be able to monitor emissions. 


The team will work with several local businesses. University spin-out company Surrey Sensors Ltd will build the sensors, while Hampshire's Allsopp Helikites Ltd will provide the helium balloons.  

This complex project will combine a range of skills from across the University – from fluid dynamics to building robots, analysing data and sensing emissions.  

The technology will be tested in a variety of locations – including Thames Water treatment works, the University’s land at Blackwell Farm Guildford, and rice paddies in Spain.  

The Spanish rice paddy project will benefit from the remote sensing support of Mantle Labs Ltd, and Eurecat Centre Tecnològic, Spain

This is one of 13 projects nationwide to be funded by a £12m investment from UKRI's Natural Environment Research Council, Defra and Innovate UK.

The research will support UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (climate action).