CORDIS - EU research results

Early alarm system for groundwater contamination monitoring

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EnviroALARM (Early alarm system for groundwater contamination monitoring)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-11-30

EnviroALARM is an eco-innovative online monitoring system specially developed to significantly improve the existing technologies for pollution surveillance, contributing to radically reduce the potential environmental impact from hydrocarbon storage sites. There are over 800,000 sites with high potential to contaminate the environment (petrol stations, refineries, storage centres, etc.). At present, there is not an affordable and reliable system to daily detect hydrocarbon leakages affecting the environment. EnviroALARM fits within the European priorities to prevent and minimize environmental impacts, developing an Eco-innovative product to continuously monitor the presence of hydrocarbons in the environment. The global environmental monitoring market is poised to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.5% during 2015-2020, and is expected to reach a value of ~$20.5 Billion in 2020. The main advantages of EnviroALARM over current competitors are: i) Same device detects HC leaks in liquid or vapour phase, thus reducing equipment costs (up to 45%), ii) Wireless solution for hazardous areas, thus reducing installation costs (up to 76%), iii) Low production cost, thus allowing for a healthy margin that incentivises distribution (up to 53%), iv) Over 7-year life without maintenance, thus reducing yearly maintenance costs (over 79%) over current market competitive solutions. EnviroALARM innovative sensor based on a physicochemical reaction is unique in the world. This solution presents a huge market opportunity, since it applies to a worldwide problem offering an easily replicable and transferable technology that fulfils the increasing regulations at EU and international level. The main objective of the present proposal is the determination of EnviroALARM technological and economic feasibility. After checking its feasibility, an upgraded EnviroALARM prototype will be developed in order to conduct several demonstration activities.
IPR analysis: a deep review together with Clarke, Modet & Co of related patents to the new functionalities have been made over 100 databases including USPTO (USA), EPO (Europe), WIPO (Global) as well as national patent office in France, Germany, UK, China, Korea, Japan and Spain. Deep analysis of each patent showed that two features of EnviroALARM sensor are susceptible of patent:
• Sensor able to detect liquid hydrocarbon as well as high concentration of vapours.
• Electronic design able to detect the correct location of the sensor inside a monitoring well.
As a result of the business plan and the market strategy defined, SST has decided to apply for an international patent.

Customer survey analysis: The market research done over 236 customers in 11 countries shows a strong interest in EnviroALARM product/service. Over 25% of the interviewed potential distributors/customers showed a positive response to the technology. The analysis served to define the features demanded by the end-users as well as the best sales strategy: offer the system 100% as a service rather than a combination of hardware + service.

Demo studies: Large scale demonstrative and testing actions for EnviroALARM will be developed on 200 sites with 8 different monitoring conditions during Phase 2 execution, selected with the support of HERA distributor company and end users such as CEPSA, GALP and CLH, in order to reach real condition tests (TRL 8).

Business plan: The conservative market share for year one has been projected to be 0.06%, ending up in year six with a projected share of 1.05% of the SAM. The growth potential of EnviroALARM is huge worldwide, having the opportunity to tackle two different markets such as Underground Storage Tanks (petrol stations and others) and Above Storage Tanks (big storage tank facilities, refineries, civil infrastructure and others) with the same product, increasing the chances of success. Conservative business plan indicates that will reach more than 16,800 EnviroALARM system sold in year six with cumulative revenues >40M€.
EnviroALARM consolidates many functionalities of different technologies into one in a more cost-efficient way, giving a huge potential as will be the most suitable technology for HC monitoring in Underground Storage Tanks and Above Storage Tanks. Based on the interviews with potential customers, distributors and trials with several customers with the first prototype, EnviroALARM will offer strategic market benefits:
• Cost-efficient service: Environmental monitoring system provided as a service with a more competitive cost than alternative technologies (over 50% than alternatives).
• Complementarity: EnviroALARM can be easily complemented with other leak detection systems to improve overall control in a simple and easy way.
• No maintenance. The system will perform over 7 years without maintenance communicating the quality of the air/water daily.
• Applicable in different media: the system can work detecting free liquid HC phase as well as HC vapours.
• Simplicity and automation: Simple installation with easy-to-use wireless module that can be retrofitted in any site. It will be able to sense the correct installation sending an alarm in case of problem.
• No false alarm. The sensor will retain a proof of the contamination that triggered the alarm. This will avoid the perception of false alarm in case of small, non-continuous leaks.
• 24/7 monitoring. Continuous monitoring based on its novel features and the extremely limited maintenance required.
Technical advantages of EnviroALARM over market competitive solutions
EnviroALARM detection System