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 successful first "AIRLAB Microsensors Challenge 2018", 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 2019 edition
The "AIRLAB Microsensors Challenge 2019" is organized by Airparif with the support of Atmo Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Atmo Grand-Est, Atmo Normandie, Atmo Hauts-de-France, the Scientific and Technical Center for Building, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), the Interprofessional Federation of Atmospheric Environment Trades, EDF, ENGIE, the French Development Agency, CEA, DIM QI2, the Observatory of Indoor Air Quality, the World Weather Organization and Veolia.
The 34 sensors tested during this second edition all have a satisfactory level of ergonomics and a performance improvement of more than 10% compared to the 2018 edition. If the quality of the measurements varies 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 this year, unlike the previous edition.