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High sensitivity multi-gas handheld gas analysis technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - IRON (High sensitivity multi-gas handheld gas analysis technology)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-08-31

The ambition of IRON project was to develop and commercialize portable, high performance, and fast device to enable safe handling of contaminated containers. In order to develop the device of required sensitivity, selectivity, speed , reliability and accuracy, a following objectives has been addressed for the reported period:
- system specifications has been created by M3 based on HoQ methodology and following KANO interviews with users from defined target early-end user group.
- minaturised photoacoustic cell has been be designed and its performance has been validated according to specifications requirements of the device, and including vibration handling capabilities .Optimized prototype of the photoacoustic cell was integrated into the device
- EC-QCL laser source has been selected to capture wide number of selected gas components, laser control scheme has been developed and implemented enabling required speed of measurement as specified in system specifications. performance of light source module has been validated.
- miniaturized gas sampling module has been implemented and tested with performance requirements validated positively
- device software and hardware modules has been integrated and tested
- middleware modular software has been designed, implemented and tested allowing independent development and testing of individual layers and system components
- chemometrics for multi-component gas identification based on the measured spectra with different sources was developed and validated according to system specifications
- algorithms and software for the library spectrum calibration has been created
- cloud architecture has been developed and implemented. Cloud-based data handling and communications application has been created and tested positively

IRON addressed growing demand for affordable, rapid, sensitive and selective instruments to enable on-site detection of hazardous chemicals in cargo containers and prevent worker exposure to the harmful volatile chemicals caused by fumigants and off-gassing of freight. The current lack of technology places dockworkers, container unloaders and consumers at risk of carcinogenic or toxic gases, many of which elude subjective detection. Developed monitoring technology enables also new monitoring capabilities for applications including not only cargo container safety, but automotive emission testing, hidden person detection, explosives and narcotics detection, occupational safety, and other.
During first phase (M1-M3) of the project information was published, webpage released and project implementation processes were set. The development of hardware and software has started with development of hardware modules and device concept as well as firmware and middleware software concepts. Testing and development procedures for IRONdevelopment wee set in place. First sprint has started with cloud specification work and with focus on cloud architecture concept design. Testing and integration environments and procedures were implemented. The equipment has been purchased and marked. Status of the project, including budget, time and progress has been reported to Gasera Board.

In period M4-M6 market analysis of the cargo container market provided information about available markets. The development of hardware and software were focused on hardware modules development as well as firmware and middleware software concepts development. First version of cloud architecture was made available online. Communication Toolbox has been completed and published.
In period M7-M9 potential cargo safety markets has been explored via contacts from major industry exhibitions. Market research has been structured and risks summarized. Electronics, photoacoustic cell, light source module and gas sampling module were completed for integration. Cloud development sprint provided data structures for API and database.
Cloud system development architecture is ready and first front and backend skeleton of functionality was implemented. The tradeshows, conferences and other events that GASERA are planned as stated in project proposal with major industry expositions: Pittcon, Photonics West and Analytica were participated and the same exhibitions are planned in next year for commercial release of IRON product if budget allows. Minor events will be participated as well with some of them planned on short term and participated if relevant and important for IRON project.
In period M10-M12: The development of SW and HW modules is progressing also during the integration phase. The works are focused on addressing mainly laser module challenges related to technical problems and poor thermal stability. New temperature control module has been developed and implemented with using Peltier HW module and control card. Relevant firmware expansions to host the change were necessary.Third sprint developed INPUT API and data warehouse structures, including relevant documentation and tools to test future modification of API and data structure in IRON (changes are needed to align IRON device development with IRON cloud development). First prototype integrating all the IRON modules has been validated positively in performance tests.
In period M13-M15 first version of cloud service has been made available for evaluation and integration has been completed providing prototype for field testing and next IRON instrument has been created with double laser. In period M16-M21 third (single-laser) prototype has been completed and work on manufacturing infrastructure has proceeded. Last prototype instrument industrial design was completed. Field test has been completed. In period M21-M24 both instrument and cloud system development produced final version of miniaturized prototype and improved based on field results feedback. Gear up to market plan has been established and IPR research has been performed and post-project plans has been documented.
GASERA has developed IRON handheld device for sub-parts per billion (ppb) gas monitoring instrument based on proprietary mid-infrared laser spectroscopy combined with novel patented photoacoustic technology. The transitioning of its technology from fixed mount monitors to portable instruments, motivated by the strong need for portable analysers for toxic gases and air pollutants in several application fields with laboratory grade performance, will enable access to new markets. Existing technologies have limitations in terms of size, performance, versatility and/or usability. That also opened new opportunities for high performancemonitoring in other applications including e.g. automotive emission testing

The benefits for the end-users of the technology will include increased worker safety (minimising the risk to their workers by exposure to hazardous chemicals), improved decision making in relation to cargo and container decontamination (aeration, cleaning, etc.), more efficient use of resource and improved operations (by preventing unnecessary aeration and speeding up container handling, etc.).

It is predicated that the growing and widespread awareness of the dangers posed by hazardous chemicals in the workplace will drive demand for methods for detection of chemicals in containers and Gasera can now offer the instrment to address this need. By serving this demand with the IRON handheld, GASERA will generate ~ €42.3M in additional turnover by 2023.