A little-known aspect of the financing of industrial projects and research in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
What is it about?
How to finance an industrial research project in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region (AURA): the R&D Booster program.
It aims to promote collaborative R&D projects (at least two companies and one research organization) in response to the challenge of developing new products, processes, or services. A call for projects has been launched: the consortia presenting their project must meet the various eligibility criteria and, in particular, the R&D activities must be positioned between 5 and 9 on the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, with the aim of getting to market in the short or medium term (12 to 24 months). Projects must address the challenges of at least one of the strategic areas of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
The consortia presenting the projects are composed of at least two companies and a research and knowledge diffusion organization.
Remember that for companies, the rate of assistance from the region is 60% while for the research laboratory, it is 100%.
 Des consortiums et non consortia (dictionnaire de l’Académie Française, 9e édition)
The project CODETEX
We have already seen in this blog that soot clinging to firefighters‘ clothing can cause illness in firefighters.
After an intervention, their PPE is contaminated by fumes and soot and represents a danger for them, in particular when undressing. It is therefore essential to limit the risks by confining the toxic residues in a controlled environment. It should be noted that at present, there is no suitable solution. The development of such equipment would also allow the development of a common protocol for all rescue centers, or even to ensure common training through the use of training modules.
Soot is a black carbonaceous deposit resulting from the incomplete combustion of biomass (wood) or fossil hydrocarbons (coal, oil). In vegetation fire soot, the soot is in particulate form comprising coarse particles noted PM10, have an average diameter between 2.5 and 10 microns, fine particles PM2.5 have a diameter between 1 and 2.5 microns, very fine particles PM1 have an average diameter less than 1 micron. Fine particles lead to inflammation and cancer. There may also be nanoparticles (NPs). Combustion concentrates metals in the particles such as Lead, Zinc, and Antimony, from wood and flame retardants… We can also find proven carcinogenic molecules (benzene, formaldehyde, dioxins), probable carcinogens (creosotes), and possible carcinogens (PAH).
As you can see, the soot clinging to the fabric of the PPE is the main hazard.
After an intervention, the decontamination of the uniforms is done according to procedures specific to each fire department, based on simple recommendations but without following any specific standard: it can be a dry brushing which disperses the contaminants in the environment or decontamination with water under low pressure, with or without detergent.
In all cases, no prior evaluation of the different protocols was conducted.
There are mobile decontamination systems used during large-scale CBRN events but they are not adapted to everyday operational decontamination.
One could therefore imagine a closed area, such as a container, equipped with an efficient clothes brushing system and a suction system to collect and isolate the toxic particles in a closed cycle. Another area would allow for undressing. The objectives of the project are therefore to develop the container and to validate the effectiveness of the system by developing new analytical methods to analyze the composition of the soot and to validate the maintenance of the effectiveness of the clothing fabrics after the treatment.
Who are the actors?
The project leader : Sulitec
This company is specialized in the thermal insulation of materials and the protection of people. It develops thermal insulation for niche markets to compensate for the progressive disappearance of ceramic and asbestos.
It is already aware of the problems faced by fire fighters and has developed a class A real fire simulator in the form of a container with insulation specially designed to reproduce all types of thermal phenomena with only 30kg of wood (2 to 3 pallets).
This tool, unique in the world, limits the loads used and the thermal flow for the trainers and trainees and allows the use of water during the teaching: thermal phenomena, progression, and attack. The closed hearth is an essential asset for safe and controlled information. This simulator is equipped with a smoke treatment unit allowing to eliminate a maximum of particles and tars emitted during the combustion. The company has already experience in the processing and use of containers.
Sulitec and Ouvry SAS have just joined forces to jointly develop new innovations in the field of technical textiles. The design and manufacture of innovative protective and decontamination fabrics will enable Ouvry to offer new multifunctional PPE protecting against CBRN and fire/radiant heat risks while Sulitec will be able to design and produce recyclable or reusable textile components or fibrous elements.
This industrial boilermaker has recently shifted its focus to the transformation of containers to create innovative spaces and concepts for industrial applications.
Cap Container is a historical partner of Sulitec for the manufacture of containers for the training of firemen.
The consortium thus presents two companies and it must join an organization of research and diffusion of knowledge which in this case is
The Institute of Analytical Sciences (ISA), Claude Bernard University Lyon 1
The Joint Research Unit 5280, under the supervision of the CNRS and the Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, brings together the expertise of more than 170 researchers, teacher-researchers, doctoral students, engineers and technicians, as well as a set of analytical instruments unique in Europe. Nicole Gilon-Delépine, Senior Lecturer, will be in charge of the Codetex project within the Institute. She will use laser spectroscopy techniques to analyze the presence of harmful particles contained in soot before and after brushing. These techniques are not invasive and will not alter the textiles analyzed. These analyses will allow to validate and optimize the brushing process developed in the container.
It is a real challenge to dissect and analyze soot, which is a complex mixture of particles composed of many smaller elements. In addition, the analysis of carbon, a constituent element of soot, using plasma spectrometry techniques will be the fundamental research component of the project.
In practice, it will be necessary to develop new analytical methods that provide information on the size, density and elemental composition of soot particles. These techniques will make it possible to validate the primary decontamination of PPE and become a reference.
In a second step, the surface condition of PPE fabrics after brushing by microscopyélectronique permettra de vérifier que l’EPI est encore capable de garantir leur efficacité anti-feu.
The one who helps the consortium : Techtera
The Techtera competitiveness cluster is dedicated to the French textile industry and its main objective is to stimulate competitiveness through collaborative innovation.
The cluster’s 250 members receive support for innovation and collaborative R&D projects, from the idea to the dissemination of results.
A project “labeled” by the competitiveness cluster is supported by the structure in terms of R&D projects, innovation levers, business development, trade shows and trend strategy.
What will be the economic impact?
The market in France is mainly for public and private fire services. There are also many export requests, in Europe and North America. If the manufacturing will be ensured jointly by the 2 industrial partners (a common workshop of assembly will be able to create about ten jobs), the marketing will be ensured by Sulitec well introduced in the services of rescue and firemen of airports of the industry. For its part, ISA will be able to transfer its analytical methods and protocols, bringing economic benefits and, scientifically speaking, the new analysis techniques can be applied to other materials such as metals, cements, microplastics, and even living organisms such as bacteria…
We have no doubt that scientific publications or presentations at conferences will result from this work.
This project will provide
development of a primary decontamination tool in a closed environment ;
possible standardization ;
– protection of the health of the firemen ;
– economic contributions for the 2 companies;
– new analysis techniques that could be applied to the environment through a better knowledge of soot produced by forest fires and domestic wood heating (current) and also monitoring of exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) produced by human activity.
For a duration of 2 years and a budget of 995 000 euros (680 000 euros of aid).
To go further