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Road and rail tunnel fire protection

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Tunnelsafe2020 (Road and rail tunnel fire protection)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2015-05-31

The aim of the Phase-1 project was to investigate further the feasibility of a known fire extinguishing system concept in a totally new context. The conceptual idea to use the Fire Eater system has been worked with since the 1990's, but in spite of its obvious potential of improving fire safety in road and rail tunnels, it was never prioritized due to resources limitations and need to prioritze, and further the risk of carrying through a costly test and verification programme, which would lead to a very good product, but a product with no user interest or need, or a product that would have user interest and fulfil user need, but not fit economical reality or being unrealistic due to significantly more economical competing solutions.
It was decided to establish an Advisory Board (AB), to follow the work of the project, and particularly to challenge any weak parts of the project. The use of the AB turned out to be extremely productive, and helped to identify weaknesses, and to guide change of project both technically and with regards to future business plan. In effect the presence of the AB, within the project led to a simplification of critical system elements, and pushed a product development, which is believed to not only secure a project with a very high probability of commercial success, but even more so to solve a societal challenge: It is believed that Fire Safety in road and rail tunnels can improved to a level where risk of catastrophic fires is eliminated. In accidents and disasters a survivable atmosphere can be maintained or created after fire, and the access of rescue workers secured practically without any delay or risk.
Unexpected technical development and innovation has been achieved, open answers of the feasibility study have been answered, the business plan has been modified to improve chances of commercial success, and it has been decided to submit a Horizon 2020 phase-2 application. The focus and format of Horizon 2020, and the grant for the Phase-1 project, has been key to make Tunnelsafe develop to the present level, and at this stage a well defined and optimized project base for the phase-2 has been established. Phase-2 will mainly be full-scale testing and verification of system performance in real tunnel configurations.
"Tunnels for the different stages of testing are identified and access has been secured on reasonable conditions. This was a critical element for the project. Without this in place a continuation of the project would not have been possible. The test plan has been improved to secure a logistically well positioned test tunnel site for the initial testing, where basic principles and modified components can be tested at a relatively low cost. This will serve as a go/no-go milestone to eliminate risk of going straight to the more costly full-scale testing. Through the establishment of the advisory board with a wide expert and user representation, the go/no-go decision at project mid-term, will be based on objective criteria.

Improvements of the project on the technical level and the simplification of technology has removed the need to establish a consortium supplying system elements that could involve risk in the development phase, as well as later in use and real-life conditions. It has also simplified the route to market and possible access to more user and geographical segments.
The technical improvements has eliminated the need for other consortium partners, but sub-supplier for test tunnel access is needed, and agreement is made ""better than market conditions"", and sub-suppliers in the form of third party verification are needed and have confirmed participation in the project phase-2.
After the very good experience with Advisory Board, this element will be strengthened in the phase-2 project and additional resource will be reserved in the budget.

During phase-1 identification of potential user groups and competitors analysis has been performed. It has been concluded that the market need is very much present, and that Tunnelsafe will stand out as a very competitive solution compared to the present State-of-Art, and with a dramatically improved performance.

All objectives of the phase-1 project have been fulfilled, all anticipated work has been carried out, and all deliverables are made, except for the consortium partner list. This is due to technical improvement of the project eliminating the need for product development of the previously anticipated elements.
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"In the initial phase of commercialization (following completion of phase-2) it is expected that the project coordinator will increase its turn-over by more than 20 million Euro in the 3 initial years. After the 3 years where the most important factor will be to secure 2-3 sample projects, the following years the potential to complete 5-10 projects per year is realistic. This has a revenue value of 30-60 million Euro per year. The project, and production/supply is very scalable and it will be easy to adapt to a market demand from 10-50 projects per year.

The socio economic impact per year is not easy to calculate accurately, but may be viewed in separate elements:
A) Elimination of fatalities and injuries after catastrophic fires in tunnels. They do not occur with a high frequency, but when they do by experience 5-100 people are dying as they cannot evacuate, and smoke and heat will reach very high levels quickly due to the configuration of the tunnel (in no way possible to address by modified tunnel design). We have not viewed this by the price of a human life, but is obviously a notable level, when the catastrophic fire occur.
B) After catastrophic tunnel fires, many people will try to avoid tunnels, and create anxiety. By establishing an efficient and reliable extinguishing system the tunnel can be rated ""safe tunnel"", which will provide more acceptance by its users.
C) Damages after fires: With tunnelsafe damages after fire will be eliminated or probably reduced, so that repair costs are basically ignorable, and also re-opening of a tunnel after fire can be immediate.
D) Access for rescue personel: In a tunnel fire or a catstrohic tunnel fire rescue workers cannot access. Tunnelsafe will secure ability to extinguish a fire at the earliest possible stage, extinguish the fire completely, and secure a cleaner and breathable atmosphere, improving the victims chance to survive in the first place, and thereafter improve their chance of survival because the rescue workers can securely access the emergency area.
For each catastrophic tunnel fire scenario the socio economic benefit of using tunnelsafe will add up to the order of hundred(s) of million Euro, and even Billion(s) of Euro.
E) Possibility to retrofit in older tunnels not having inadequate safety measures (this can be PU-insulation, and no emergency escape tunnel, inadequate ventilation) as per todays standards. The increase in safety by the use of the tunnelsafe will in many situations provide a higher safety level even at a much lower cost."
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