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Vodafone and Extreme E team up to protect Scottish salmon

30 May 2023Technology news
3 minute read

In 2018, Founder and Chairman of Formula E, Alejandro Agag, was having breakfast with his good friend and motor racing legend, Gil De Ferran, when the pair dreamed up a new eco-conscious, all-electric motorsport series called Extreme E.

Taking place in some of the world’s most remote locations, the annual five-part racing series seeks to tell the story of climate change while showcasing damaged environments.

Glenmuckloch, a disused open-cast coal mine in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

The chosen track was Glenmuckloch, a disused open-cast coal mine in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Apart from providing a dramatic backdrop, the area also illustrates the journey from fossil fuels to renewables. It’s currently being developed as a pump-storage hydro facility, where energy from wind can be stored by pumping water into a reservoir, which can then be used later to generate hydroelectric power.

A wave of innovation

As Extreme E’s official technology partner, Vodafone Business is working with them to integrate capabilities such as 5G, mobile private networks, the Internet of Things (IoT)and multi-access edge computing into its global operations. But support also extends to the series’ Legacy Programmes.

In each location it visits, Extreme E aims to leave behind a long-lasting positive impact by working with local organisations and the series’ own Scientific Committee.

Previous projects include a partnership with the Ba’a Foundation in Saudi Arabia on a conservation initiative for endangered turtles and, last year, the team worked with MEDSEA to launch a new IoT-based early forest fire detection system in Sardinia.

Vodafone's new IoT-based early forest fire detection system in Sardinia

This time, we’re helping highlight the issues Atlantic salmon face as a result of climate change.

Fishing for data

For centuries, the River Nith has been home to Scotland’s Atlantic salmon, but the number of adult salmon returning has declined in recent decades due to a drop in water quality, as well as rising temperatures and riverbank erosion.

Water temperatures over 23 degrees Celsius can cause issues for salmon biology, with eggs unable to survive the heat.

Variable water levels are equally dangerous to this vulnerable species. They find it difficult to swim back upstream when the levels are low, while higher levels encourage riverbank erosion. The material eroded then flows downstream and smothers salmon eggs, increasing egg mortality.

Furthermore, coal has been mined for decades within the Nith catchment with the final mine only closed in the last two years, having a clear impact on water quality.

Partnering with the Nith District Salmon Fishery Board, we are again using IoT technology to address these issues. We’ve installed multiple ‘Hydrosenses’ devices around the river, which can monitor temperature, acidity and pollution levels, and feed the data back to researchers in real-time. They can then take action to protect the salmon and other species in the river.

The Hydrosense system will also measure the effectiveness of conservation measures, such as habitat restoration and fish stocking.

Vodafone's new IoT-based early forest fire detection system in Sardinia

Previously, these evaluations were gathered manually and transported to a lab for testing. Not only is this time-consuming, but samples were only gathered a couple of times a year meaning that it could be too late to take preventative action.

Roots of change

In addition, the project will see 200 hectares of woodlands planted along the riverbanks to help stabilise the ground. As the roots hold onto the soil, they minimise erosion and cast shade over the rivers cooling the water temperature. 100 leaky dams will also help slow the river flow and reduce erosion.

At Vodafone, we’re excited to be helping in these conservation efforts and showing how technology can help to address the climate emergency.

We are committed to ensuring the greening of our own operations and are also working with our business customers to reduce their carbon emissions by a total of 350 million tonnes between 2020 and 2030. This will be largely delivered by our IoT solutions.

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