Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


I4F Report Summary

Project ID: 711160

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I4F (Instant Foam for Fighting Forest Fires)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

R-Fire is a company founded by firefighters and pilots who have used their corresponding experience to create a novel solution to fight forest fires. They have joined forces with TFEX Engineering Ltd and together developed the I4F technology and validated it with our prototype to tackle forest fire by using foam. TFEX has broad range of firefighting products and also own the Instant Foam technology.
Water is the most commonly used extinguishing material, but when it comes to forest fires there are many problems with it. Water has limited cooling capacity and a lot of water goes to waste during refilling the buckets and also during the transportation from the water resource to the fire front. Dropping water also causes problems: pilots can miss the target, distribution on surface is not homogeneous, and much of it is below or above the effectively threshold where the water is useless. There are some technical initiatives to raise the efficiency of the use of pure water for forest fires. Airplanes and some helicopters use inside tanks to reduce the waste of refilling and transportation. Short and long term retardants are also used. The long term retardants are extremely expensive but undoubtedly efficient. Foam as short term retardant also increase the efficiency of the water that is much cheaper than retardants but its efficiency and duration is usually below the long term retardant. Instant Foam for Fighting Forest Fire (I4F) technology creates homogeneous foam, ensures long lasting and it reduces the waste compared to traditional foam. The main novelty of our solution, which is built upon Instant Foam technology is that we can use our foam based extinguishing material for aerial application and ensure fast refilling.
In this project we would like to present the economic advantages of the I4F technology and the developed steps taken in order to become a market leading commercial product.

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

The I4F project started on the 1st of March 2016. The activities at the beginning of the project consisted of the product specification (which was completed by the end of May) and some non-technical activities. These included the preparation of a customer development plan and the preparation of the communication plan. In parallel with the preparation of these documents the actual work in the non-technical work packages has also commenced. The project website was launched as the main communication platform with the public and the consortium presented the I4F technology at a number of international and overseas conferences. The feedback at these conferences has been very positive.
Once the product specification was complete the technical development commenced. The development was carried out in an iterative manner. The development of the tank, the nozzle and the foam ran in parallel and the intermediate results were continuously tested to aid the next step in the development. Initially all the tests were done using small scale prototypes and once they were validated they were scaled up.
By the end of the first year the complete aerial unit was designed and the foam to be used has been finalised. The system is currently under manufacture so at Month 15 it can be tested and integrated onto a MI-8 helicopter to carry out actual pilot tests.

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)

Our I4F system will be more effective than traditional water or foam methods and will be a lot cheaper than the state of the art solutions such as the use of retardants. Furthermore, the long lasting foam structure will ensure a completely new type of firefighting methodology that will allow fires to be extinguished without going near the dangerous fire front. We want to save not just the forest from the fire but the pilots and planes from risky direct attack.

Environmental & social factors
According to the European Parliament study on Forest Fires: Causes and contributing factors in Europe (IP/A/ENVI/ST/2007-15), the forest fires are one of the most important threats to forest and wooded area in Europe and the most important threat in Southern Europe. Fighting fires in general is not as trivial as just putting water on it, and when it comes to forest fires the problem is even more complex. The methods currently used demonstrate the complexity through their limitations:
• The traditional air borne solutions for fighting forest fires use pure water or water with foam agent with low efficiency or long term retardants with high effectiveness and high costs. The first two methods of attack usually aim the burning surfaces, trying to fight the flames.
• These methods are dangerous to the carrier vehicle, the turbulences can be very high.
• The extinguishing agent is widely spread; the density can be too low to be efficient.
• The extinguishing agent has low viscosity, therefore drops immediately to the ground, has no effect on the leaves, branches of the trees and bushes, it reaches immediately the soil, without use.
Our foam technology ensures that larger volumes can be carried in smaller space and when deposited it stays on the branches and the trees and hence stopping the fire from spreading. As a result, using I4F will have the following social impacts:
• Save human lives living in or around forests (wildland urban interface)
• Save lives of fireman fighting at the high intensity fire front (we can avoid it)
• Save lives of pilots using direct attack against fire (the fact that the aerial vehicle only has to go to the boundary of the fire, the risk of crashing is hugely reduced)
• Save the flora and fauna (plants and animals)
• Save the environment through the reduction of polluting emissions (The CO2 emission of forest fires is estimated 20 % of the global emission, to compete with the CO2 release of cars. Using I4F can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of fires.)
• Save the infrastructure in and around forests
• Increase the security feeling of the target sectors and society globally
• The eco-friendly new foam used will ensure additional environmental impact
The reduction of the cost of forest fire fighting and the reduction of losses due to fires will have an additional impact on the society

Technological factors
• The maximum amount of water that can be applied for 1 square metre of area is 5kg, while using our foam technology the value is up to 15 kg, which is 3 times more than the amount of pure water.
• I4F technology able to supply foam structure with up to 60 minutes water draining half-time.
• I4F technology supplies homogenous foam structure that has an extra cooling effect with 1.7 – 2.3 times more in water equivalence; on average 2.0.
• 5kg water over 1 square metre can extinguish a fire intensity of 3,400 kw/m. Using our foam therefore has an extinguishing capacity 6 times of that, hence a fire intensity of 20,4000 kw/m can be safely put out using the foam.
• The foam used for forest fire-fighting presently is produced by ejecting the extinguishing substance from a plane that foams up due to collision and friction with the air. I4F technology supplies homogenous foam jet from the nozzle.
• The most effective forest fire-fighting technology at present is through using retardants in a ratio of 20-25% of water. With the I4F technology, this ratio is 3%.

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