Room air regulation measuring system (Photo: CiS)
A new innovation action project called SMARTER-SI offers European companies a new production platform for the efficient manufacturing of innovative and intelligent sensor components and microsystems in small and medium quantities. Around 5.3 million euros in funding will flow into the construction and testing of this platform until 2018. The aim of this measure is to enable SMEs to turn their product ideas into innovations at affordable costs by facilitating access to high technologies and scientific expertise.
A success story
Carbon dioxide is a natural component of air. It is also the most important indicator of indoor air quality. A person working in an office exhales about 20 litres per hour of this odourless and tasteless gas. In the current air quality regulation DIN EN 1946-2, a CO2 limit of 1,500 ppm is set as the maximum permissible value. This means that there should only be 1,500 CO2 molecules among 1 million air molecules. High CO2 concentrations impair human performance and can lead to fatigue and headaches. Smart gas sensors provide the necessary data for demand-oriented and energy-saving ventilation and air conditioning in industrial and public buildings.
How did Smarter-SI help?
ConSens is a typical small company, a recognised specialist in the technical field of gas sensor technology. Their high-tech products are developed with limited personal and financial resources. A number of conditions were necessary to create the required new class of CO2 gas sensors: a high readiness of modern micro and nano technologies including verified research results, an interdisciplinary team of experts with a deep understanding of the technical interfaces, a constructive, trustful cooperation between all partners and last but not least financial support from the EU. All these factors are available in the Smarter SI consortium, which ultimately helps to reduce the greater entrepreneurial risk SMEs face in the product and innovation development process.
The new CO2 sensor combines breakthrough solgel thin-film nanotechnologies with state-of-the-art optical detection technologies. When exposed to CO2, the encapsulated sensitive dye changes colour, which can be reliably measured by the optical sensor.
The high mechanical stiffness, low power consumption (≤ mW), wide measuring range (0…10,000 ppm), reduced cross-sensitivity to moisture, accuracy of +/- 100 ppm, zero ppm detection, maintenance-free operation for 60 months and user-friendliness are exceptional features of the new CO2 sensor solution.
The modular system concept used, the so-called building blocks, can easily be adapted to other gas sensor applications such as the detection of ammonia, chlorine or nitrogen oxides in the air.
About SMARTER-SI – Smarter Access to Manufacturing for Systems Integration
In SMARTER-SI, a network of European research institutions offers a novel manufacturing platform to produce state-of-the-art microsystems for SMEs and SMEs in small quantities as cheaply as possible and without lengthy development efforts.
The EU Commission has selected Smarter-SI as one of four reference projects for the “Smart Anything Everywhere” initiative.
SMARTER-SI is an innovation action and is funded by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 programme (Funding code 644596) and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (Funding code 15.0085).
Cooperation partners are: Hahn-Schickard (Germany), CiS (Germany), CSEM (Switzerland), IK4-Ikerlan (Spain), Swerea IVF (Sweden), UCC-TNI (Ireland), IPHT (Germany), VDI/VDE-IT (Germany) and seven SMEs.
More information: www.smarter-si.eu
CO2-sensitive colour-changing film (Photo: courtesy of CSEM)