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Flame Detector Based on Epitaxial Metal Oxides (EMO) Technology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FIRESENSE (Flame Detector Based on Epitaxial Metal Oxides (EMO) Technology)

Période du rapport: 2019-12-01 au 2020-05-31

"The French oxide semiconductor company, Nanovation, has been awarded ""SME-Instrument"" Phase I support by the European Commission in order to accelerate market adoption of its' novel solid-state fire sensors.

Fires have been in the news a lot over the past year with the huge outreaks in Australia, the rampant forest fires in the Amazon and California, as well as the damage done to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Indeed, thousands of preventable fires occur each day in Europe alone and cause losses of lives and personal possessions/property along with cultural/natural heritage. These fires are often not detected in time to prevent damage because most commercial fire/smoke detectors usually do not go off until it is too late to intervene and quell the conflagration before it takes hold.

Amongst the existing fire detector technologies the fastest, most sensitive and longest-range alternative is remote optical sensing. These systems typically use a combination of Infra-Red (IR) and solar-blind UltraViolet (UV) sensors. The use of simultaneous UV and IR detection maximises accuracy and eliminates false positives. Although these systems allow detection of a fire immediately upon ignition, the current UV sensors employ bulky/fragile/costly vacuum-tube technology which requires operation at a few hundred volts. Hence widespread distribution of these sensors in locations away from network power supply has not been possible.

Nanovation, has recently demonstrated world-leading solar blind UV detection based on next generation (and biocompatible) oxide optosemiconductors and a novel/proprietary manufacturing technology. Compared to the incumbent vacuum tube UV technologies, these solid-state sensors are significantly cheaper, much more robust/compact and will operate at considerably reduced operating voltages and energy consumption. Thus it will be possible remove the need for a network power supply and deploy them more widely in far-flung locations.

The technology is currently being tested for fire detection in an industrially relevant environment (TRL 6) and has already convinced potential industrial end-users.

The EU-funded ""FIRESENSE"" project* will help Nanovation to bring these novel solid-state fire sensors to market.

For more information see www.nanovation.com"
The principal activities we carried out during the feasibility assessment are described as follows:

1. Market Survey and analysis of state of the art regarding the use of solid-state materials for flame/fire detection:
1.1- Activities undertaken through several channels which include a)- data collection through our annual SPIE conference where optical detection is one of the main topics and where we gather state-of-the-art data from the market (industrial as well as R&D level), b)-research and analysis of relevant published papers , c)- contact/meeting/discussion with key market players, d)- identification of key partners.
1.2-Highlighted Main Results: c Firesense technology is a viable and competitive technical solution.

2. Progress towards Product Development Plan and Process Capability:
2.1- Activities undertaken consisted in several key components such as a)- Preparation of Data Sheet Specifications based on feedback from potential users, b)- Developing prototypes with the aim of customer need validation, c)- further system functionalities and features planned for improved customer adaptability, d)-system operability and accessibility characteristics and identification of operational requirements,
2.2- Highlighted Main Results:-first batch of prototypes achieved and in validation test with potential end-user.

3. Progress towards Exploitation& Dissemination Plans:
3.1- Activities undertaken in order to mature the business plan towards a winning Innovative Product Strategy: a)- assessing an IP survey / mapping in order to establish/strengthen our freedom to operate b)- analysis of market trends and maturity, c)- competitor analysis, d)- validation of user needs, e)-operational requirements and analysis of potential economic and human resources for the new enterprise.
3.2- Highlighted Main Results: One US patent submitted thanks to the provided financial support of SME-Instrument

4. Progress towards Marketing, Commercialization & Communication Plans:
4.1- Activities undertaken: the objectives included: a)- development of a Targeted Market Marketing Strategy in order to identify first customers, position Firesense and create brand awareness, b)-set pricing, perform initial customer testing, c)- identifying scenarios for the launch plan with establish related key performance indicators, d)-identifying potential customer communication channels, e)-risk & barriers identification
4.2- Highlighted Main Results: a)- potential customers identified and first prototype tests ongoing, b)- communication at International (via SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, Jan. 2020 and Linkedin) achieved, at European & National levels under progress

5. Financial and Capitalization plan:
5.1- Activities undertaken to establish a sustainable enterprise. The work is still under progress supported by the coaching provided through this grant: a)- leverage most effectively assets to create the new enterprise, b)- evaluate in the short and long term possible sources of assets (to complete our Firesense value chain), c)- identify managerial and operational profiles necessary to set up and run the new enterprise.
5.2- Highlighted Main Results: coaching through European Commission Expert ongoing (delayed due to Covid-19) and EIC accelerator submission planned .
With FIRESENSE, Nanovation is proposing a game changing innovative product for the fire/flame detection market. The targeted innovative detector is expected to have strong environmental, social and economic impacts. Recently, the global fire/flame alarm and detection market size was estimated to reach USD 75.3 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 8.5% from year 2020 up to year 2027 (Apr. 2020, ResearchAndMarkets.com). These figures support the estimated economic cost of fire amounts to some €130bn.
The recognition of FIRESENSE by the EU commission, has allowed Nanovation to consolidate the plan for the joint creation of a new enterprise with its’ partners. We have been able to realise all the targeted tasks and related deliverables, as planned in the DoA. Tests have been ongoing and process optimizations are conclusive. The business plan has matured significantly, and the coaching provided by the EU commission has been extremely fruitful. The progress has hampered by Covid-19, however, and is still on going. In the meantime, the analysis of the state-of-the-art, which includes patents and publications, comforted us that our technology is a novel one at this stage. We applied for a patent in the first strategic country, thanks to the SME-Instrument phase 1 grant. We intend to progressively extend our patent portfolio to strengthen our freedom to operate. Furthermore, we have extended our product portfolio in parallel in order to boost the FIRESENSE-based company’s sustainability.
We are working with our partner on securing the required resources (financial, human, operational) and we are working on EIC phase 2 submissions, as EU commission support is key to the company’s creation (our key partner is also EU based).
FIRESENSE by Nanovation