Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


BEEP-WATER Report Summary

Project ID: 673710

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BEEP-WATER (“Biosensor for Effective Environmental Protection through the on-site, automated monitoring of a large set of chemical contaminants in Water.”)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main objective of BEEP-WATER is the adaptation to the industrial sector and implementation of our prototype developed in the Drinking Water Treatment Industry, which is subject to a stringent legislation regarding contaminants in water.
THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY is based on the current need to detect and quantify chemical contaminants to ensure the water quality required by legislation with reliable technologies and rapid response reducing the cost associated to contaminants detection.
Drinking Water Directive 98/83/CE includes a total of 48 microbiological, chemical and indicator parameters must be monitored and tested regularly, including pesticides and heavy metals. Simultaneously, Directive 2013/39/EU concerning emerging contaminants includes a list of priority substances in the field of water policy, which are selected existing chemicals, plant protection products, biocides, metals and other groups like Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).
To detect these substances, water industries require accuracy to quantifying traces of contaminants in non-ideal measurement environments with a relative standard deviation (RSD) maximum of 25% for pesticides. Also, current technologies require several days to carry out analyses to detect chemical compounds like pesticides.
Finally yet importantly, there is a huge necessity to reduce cost associated with contaminants detection. Approximately €160millions are invested in pesticide water analysis in Europe . Currently, a pesticide analysis costs an average of €300 per sample.
THE SOLUTION PROPOSED TO EMBRACE THIS OPPORTUNITY IS BEEP-WATER, since it is the first monitoring system able to be quick, inexpensive, accurate and capable to detect and quantify contaminants below the regulations threshold limits in the pico – nanoMolar range, with a relative standard deviation less than 5% and able to identify a wide range of contaminants at the same time.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Drinking Water Treatment Plants were contacted to identify their specific needs in terms of contaminants to be monitored, analysis frequency and cost. To do this, we did an online survey to be completed by Drinking Water Treatment Plants from different regions.
Among the companies surveyed about 28% are public institutions, 16% are partially held by public institutions and 56% are private companies. The European Countries are represented by Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovenia, Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands.
Companies are mainly interested not only in the monitoring of many contaminants, but also they are having problems with specific classes of contaminants. Pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals are usually monitored by the companies. Other contaminants include in the EU priority list are being also monitoring.

Apart from the survey, Biosensor Srl. made direct contact with some companies for a deeper analysis of the monitoring frequency. While heavy metals must be monitored at least monthly, the contamination by arsenic and fluoride, founded in some regions is only required annually. This is due to the fact that contamination by arsenic and fluoride is quite stable as a result of the nature of the terrain. Nonetheless, arsenic and fluoride open a new market for the biosensor in the medium-therm.
In general, 44% of the companies require more than 100 analyses per week (including all parameters) and the 50% over 500 analyses per month. In addition, according to the price of pesticides analyses, 56% of the companies spend more than €100 for analysis. Companies, which are paying less than €100 is due to the fact that public institutions have their own organized laboratories.
The time necessary to carry out these tests is more than 24 hours in the 28% of cases and the 39% of the companies take more than twelve hours to get the results.
At the same time, most of the companies necessitate an online monitoring as well as an offline monitoring, which indicates clients will demand different BEEP – WATER systems adapted to their needs.
Contamination problems, legal issues and EU legislation almost equally push the need for pesticides and heavy metals monitoring.
For the monitoring of specific points most of the companies (44%) will need more than 50 BEEP – WATER systems to cover all their Water Treatment Plants or sites from which drinking water is drawn. 600 BEEP –WATER systems will be also required to cover the demand for large companies.
At least, but not less important, 6 facilities have been proposed as demonstrations points. In general, all companies would accept to host a BEEP – WATER demonstration. They consider that the success of our project will have a high impact in their current business thanks to BEEP – WATER is able to operate in real time. One reason is subject to fees distributors have to pay by law in case of the water gets not drinking. In fact, bills when water is non – potable must be reimbursed to the users.

Direct contact with Drinking water treatment plants (DWTP) has been very useful to detect the necessity of developing 3 different electronic systems adapted to the end user needs:
- Online, remote and automatic multiparameter system.
- Automatic laboratory multiparameter system.
- Semi-automatic multiparameter system.

 In the technical feasibility study different actions have been detected to develop biomediators taking into consideration development of raw material in house, technical improvements, travelling conditions and safety container issues. Also, this activity has allowed us to define the technical adaptations to achieve the commercialized electronic systems, the requirements to each functionality and the resources we will need to implement them. Finally we have identified the technical risk associated with the project.

 Thanks to the legal and geographic study we have identified the current legislation in the target countries, the chemical compounds collected in the water legislation, which are the target substances to detect and quantify with BEEP – WATER and their detection limits. Also, a thoroughly analysis of the national legislation and the number of potential end users in different countries was helpful to define our target markets.

 For the BEEP – WATER phase 2 we have identified the next partners and collaborators that are essential to reach our final objective:
o AMS France will be responsible to the industrial adaptation of the electronic systems.
o The National Research Council (CNR) will collaborate in the biomediators development.
o Hera Group will participate as end user in the demonstration and testing activities.
o Alliance Instrument will be in charge of the dissemination and communication activities, mainly in Europe.
o Zernike Panama will collaborate in the dissemination and communication activities in America.

The conclusion of the freedom to operate analysis performed is that there are no public patents, which might prevent the patentability and commercial exploitation of the BEEP –WATER results. In fact, BEEP – WATER has an Italian patent. Considering that the project is going to develop new prototypes that can be patented for the innovation introduced by several aspects of functionality, the two partners involved in design and technical development, Biosensor and AMS Italy, will form the management structure of the IPR to ensure a structured process to identify, assess, protect and subsequently exploiting the IPR generated during the project. Biosensor will be responsible for the application of patent application.

The selling price of biomediators has been changed taking into consideration distribution cost, consumables, containers, etc. Thus, we have estimated around €8 per analysis instead the €0.5 we considered at the beginning of the project. Even so, this cost is much lower than the cost per analysis of the current techniques (€300)

based on the activities performed above we have elaborated a business plan and the market strategy for Beep Water. It includes target user defition, Price, funtionalities, countries for exploitation, IPR strategy, sales forescast, stakeholders involvement and other financial parameters.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

THE IMPACT EXPECTED FROM THIS OPPORTUNITY: BEEP – WATER will be the first product for water monitoring able to detect and quantify chemical compounds such as pesticides and heavy metals directly onsite in automatic way. This means that there is no similar product in the market and therefore, there are not outstanding competitors. In fact, the current laboratories techniques involve highly trained operators, time – consuming detection processes and complex pre-treatment steps. Regarding other biosensor technologies is not surprising the presence of outstanding competitors since, in spite of being a biosensor market in other sectors, it is an emerging technology in the water market. Through the BEEP – WATER project, Biosensor Srl. aims at becoming the first company worldwide providing an online solution for detecting and quantifying chemical compounds such as pesticides or heavy metals based on biosensor technology. The increasing regulation and the current need for using more cost-effective techniques in the environmental sensor and monitoring market, which is valued globally at €13.2 billion in 2014 and it is forecasted to grow to €17.6 billion by 2019 , might allow to Biosensor Srl. a cumulative cash flow of € 3.1 million by year 2022 (year 5), only manufacturing biomediators and licensing the sensor technology.

Related information

Record Number: 186296 / Last updated on: 2016-07-08