Air quality is a health, economic and societal issue. Outdoor and indoor air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths per year worldwide, according to the WHO report published on May 2, 2018. In response to this important issue, the expectations of the population and more generally of urban stakeholders are evolving towards a demand for more and more precise and personalized information in terms of air quality. Reliable information is the basis of understanding and action to ultimately improve air quality. In recent years, technical improvements of pollution sensors (miniaturization, connectivity, etc.) have led to the development of new "networks" by equipping housing, street furniture, vehicles or citizens, etc.
The Microsensors Challenge project
Many air quality experimentation and innovation projects are being developed, based in particular on microsensors. What is the performance of these devices with respect to their usage? How do their performances change over time? Our objective is to promote innovation while providing information and choice criteria for users according to their needs in relation to these new technologies.
After a two successful first editions of the AIRLAB Microsensors Challenge, we are continuing our efforts for a completely independent evaluation and comparison of microsensors in order to inform users regarding the suitability of available products to possible uses. This Challenge highlights the qualities of these devices and enables the building of a knowledge repository to promote innovation or even technological breakthroughs in this area. The “air market” is emerging and has a global scope, which encourages many economic players to invest in this domain, all the more so since the development of environmental technologies, digital convergence, the development of connected objects and France's leadership on these subjects point to new opportunities, both for surveillance and for improvement actions or public information.
The 2021 edition
The 2021 AIRLAB Microsensors Challenge is organized by Airparif, with the support of : Atmo France, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), FIMEA, the Observatoire de la Qualité de l’air Intérieur, the Lab’Aireka, Incub’Air, the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment, the EU Interreg project TransfAIR, and the World Meteorological Organization. It is co-financed by Airparif, the Agence Française du Développement (AFD), the Agence de la transition écologique (ADEME), EDF, DIM QI2 (the Parisian Region Network for Air Quality Research), Atmo Hauts-de-France, Atmo Normandie, Atmo Grand Est, Atmo Sud, Atmo Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Qualitair Corse.
The Challenge Jury selected 33 companies for evaluating their proposed solutions. In the comming months, Airparif's metrology laboratory and Atmo Hauts-de-France will assess 55 solutions using more than 20 metrics.
Accuracy, utility, usability, portability and cost are as many criteria that Airparif and its partners propose to evaluate as part of this Airlab Challenge. In order to transparently inform users about the products adequacy to their intended uses, the microsensors can compete in 8 categories responding to uses such as outdoor air quality, indoor air quality, individual mobility, indicative measurements (the list of categories available bellow).
The outcome of this independent evaluation will be published in the fall of 2021 and will allow visibility of the performance of microsensors currently on the market depending on their uses. This challenge seeks to put highlight the qualities of these devices and the paths for improvement, to promote innovation and technological breakthroughs, to contribute in the development of an emerging market. From autumn, the most relevant sensor solutions will be included in Airlab projects in the fields of connected buildings and citizen participation.
List of successful applicants :
3Castagni, ADDAIR, AGRISCOPE, Airlabs, Airly, ATMOTRACK, bettair, Decentlab, DomNexX, EarthSense, Ecomesure, eLichens, ENVEA, Ethera, inBiot, IQAir, Kaiterra, KUNAK, Magnasci, Meo, NanoSense, nexelec, RUBIX, Sensilla, Sensirion, Sensorbee, SGS, SouthCoast, TERA, TSI, Vaisala, VOCSens, Zaack.
• Multi-pollutant sensor with the best accuracy - Outdoor: KUNAK Air Pro (Spain)
• Multi-pollutant sensor with the best accuracy - Indoor: Rubix POD (France)
• Citizen Air (all categories): Magnasci uRADMonitor AIR (Romania)
• Outdoor Air - Monitoring : Ethera NEMO Extérieur (France)
• Outdoor Air - Awareness: Magnasci SMOGGIE (Romania)
• Indoor Air (all categories): Ethera Mini XT basic+ (France)
• Best accuracy for PM2.5 - Outdoor: Airlabs AirNode (U.K.)
• Best accuracy for PM2.5 - Indoor: Rubix POD (France)
• Best accuracy for NO2: Envea Cairnet (France)
• Best accuracy for O3: Bettair Static Node MK2 (Spain)
• Best accuracy for CO2: Zaack QAI (France)
• Best accuracy for VOC: SGS AirSense Omni (France)
All the results per sensor are freely available on the AIRLAB website via a newly created interactive platform. It offers a navigation among the results of the Challenge, allowing searches by criteria and comparisons between the different solutions. These evaluations are available in French and in English. A new edition of the Challenge is planned for 2023.
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
The results of the previous edition
The 34 sensors tested during the 2019 edition all had a satisfactory level of ergonomics and a performance improvement of more than 10% compared to the 2018 edition. If the quality of the measurements varied from excellent (for carbon dioxide in indoor air) to unsatisfactory, with differences according to the pollutants for the same sensor, a clear improvement was noted on the accuracy which improved on average by more than 30% in the 2019 edition. The jury stresses that it did not observe any major dysfunction for any of the candidate solutions in the last edition, unlike the 2018 edition.