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ZEBCOM Report Summary

Project ID: 674364

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ZEBCOM (Zero Emission Robot-Boat for Coastal and Inland Water Monitoring)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The project ZEBCOM (Zero Emission Robot-Boat for Coastal and Inland Water Monitoring) is carried out with the support of HORIZON 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument Phase 1, within the Topic: “Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon and efficient energy system”. The beneficiary company carrying out the project is CORES ltd, an innovative SME located in Varna, Bulgaria.

ZEBCOM project aims to develop an eco-innovative product combining a small solar-powered unmanned (or autonomous) surface vehicle (USV or ASV) with a number of automated (robotised) devices providing hydrographical survey and monitoring of the aquatic environment in coastal and inland waters.

Main objective of project Phase 1 was to perform a Feasibility study of the proposed ZEBCOM business idea, where to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed business, opportunities and threats present in the environment, the resources required to carry through, and ultimately - the prospects for success. Development of a business plan was envisaged also, in order to judge the cost required and value to be attained.

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

Project activities have been primarily carried out by the staff of the company. According to the project plan some tasks have been subcontracted to independent third parties. A business coaching services has been provided by the programme, that assisted company to have better understanding of clients needs and marketing methods, and better knowledge upon strategic approach for successful commersialisation of the project.
Detailed technical review of the project was carried out at this stage. An Independent Technical Feasibility report has been provided by a technology company experienced in ocean science equipment and microelectronics, including recommendations on the technological aspects.
Intellectual Property Management Plan was developed. An experienced patent expert was subcontracted to analyze the IPR potential of the project, and the innovation strategy of the company.
The need of external support of the ZEBCOM business idea has been studied. Preliminary agreements for support and cooperation with 3rd party organisations during next phase of the project have been reached.
Testing, analysis and calibration of different components of the innovative system continued during Phase 1 of the project. They were an essential part of the feasibility study, as they provided important information to take decision on important issue for the further development of the project.
Finally, a Feasibility Study Report and a Business plan were elaborated, assisted by an external consultant.
Main results obtained during Phase 1 of the project:
- The planned Feasibility study, including a Business plan, has been successfully completed
- A number of supporting technical reports & documents have been provided (independent technical review, patent file, freedom-to-operate report, coaching service report, market study report etc.), and are outlined here below in this document
- Framework Agreements with third-party organisations were reached to provide support and cooperation within the next phase of the project
- The project was successfully presented at series of meetings with stakeholders, as well as by a successful dissemination campaign in the national news media.

Conclusion of the action is that, based on the Feasibility Study, Market Analysis, Economical and Financial evaluation and related indicators, the project investment is evaluated as:
Low-to-moderate risk investment that has the potential to provide high returns. The project shall continue according to its original strategic vision, with some improvements regarding technical and operational aspects of the ZEBCOM system.

The activities done within Phase 1 - the Feasibility Study - fitted very well into the overall project plan, as it came at the right time of the project development, giving the chances to focus and to trace the right way to reach the market.

Within the next stage of the project, the final (improved) system prototype will be commissioned, as well as the logistics, equipment and infrastructure for serial manufacturing will be established, together with relevant marketing and financial developments.

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)

ZEBCOM project develops a number of innovations that makes it possible to create a Hi-Tech Low-Cost product (system) that is able to overcome main challenges facing similar developments. The project develops a light weighted solar driven zero emission vessel, that can bear heavy-weight measurement and auxiliary equipment (in addition to the heavy-weight batteries, and the large number of solar PV modules). It creates an easy-to-use, flexible system, which is able to respond within hours, or minutes, to emergency calls for (any) eco-measurements in (any) water body. The use of autonomous monitoring units, such as the ZEBCOM system products, can provide low-cost, efficient tools for routine monitoring of the aquatic environment, this way providing significant impact on EU water sector. Reliable data from such observations are of crucial importance to understanding and adaptation to climate change.
In a long term, a possible extension of the application area of the solar-driven boat (the technology could be scaled up for large boats for aquaculture, or tourist purposes, or even for ships) can contribute significantly to reducing carbon emissions. The use (or the modification) of the vessel as a fish-boat, or as an excursion boat, can have also a strong social impact in coastal communities, where common use of small vessels, as for fishing or for tourist purposes is of crucial importance.

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