Improving indoor air quality with innovative eco-materials
The ECO-SEE project aims to address an emerging health problem associated with modern low carbon buildings. Modern buildings have been developed to be very airtight, improving their energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint. However, these sealed environments have created unexpected side effects, with research showing that a build-up of potentially harmful chemicals in the air is potentially causing negative impacts on occupants.
The ECO-SEE project studies the use of innovative eco-building materials that will address indoor air pollution, while also radically improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
Through the project the researchers will develop highly insulated wall panels treated using novel chemical processes to enhance the capacity of building materials to capture VOCs. The team will also develop highly novel photocatalytic coatings using nanoparticle technology, which will decompose harmful chemicals when exposed to sunlight, preventing them from being released into the air.
The objective of the project is to deliver products with at least 15 per cent lower embodied energy than traditional construction materials, with at least 20 per cent longer expected lifespan, and for at least 20 per cent lower build costs. By making better products at a lower price the research group can create a cost effective solution with the potential for real market impact.
C-Tech is taking part in ECO-SEE as a linked third party, providing leadership to the project beneficiaries in exploitation planning on behalf of Greenovate! Europe. As such we are working with partners from across the consortium, and especially the industrial partners, to develop an exploitation plan for the key results (new products and services) arising from the project, and to define business models for market take-up in order to safeguard their value.
In practice, this means facilitating an exploitation group consisting of partners owning relevant intellectual property, and those most interested in using such knowledge commercially, in order to reach agreement on how best to ensure take up of the results generated by ECO-SEE by relevant market players, primarily including the consortium members. A series of exploitation workshops is providing the consortium with exploitation support services and enabling them to seek agreement on the elements included in the exploitation action plan. These workshops explore questions such as: what are the expected exploitable results; how will exploitation take place (e.g. direct industrial use, patenting, technology transfer, publication); what conditions are needed to enable exploitation; what resources are required; what is the competition; and what are the expectations of partners and stakeholders.
The three phases of exploitation planning can be summarised as (1) initial identification of the key results arising from the project (2) clarification of exploitable results and development of exploitation routes; and (3) development of detailed exploitation action plans. Along the way we are identifying risks and barriers to exploitation, and promoting and provoking commercially focused discussion and action planning amongst the consortium partners. Exploitation action plans outline which steps need to be taken in order to minimise exploitation risks and maximise the benefits. Overall, the exploitation plan will contain a pre-assessment of market potential and exploitation options, covering – among other things – technology advantage versus competitors; market size and conditions; business model options; resources and partnering needs; and likely income and cost structures.
At the end of the project, all findings relevant for the commercial exploitation and market take-up of the R&D results of the project will be consolidated in a twenty page business plan for each of the individual exploitable results. This plan will integrate all of the above work, but above all will succinctly and convincingly convey the value proposition at the heart of the business; how value creation needs to be configured, and the revenue model; all in order to align collaborators with the exploitation process.
Co-funded by the European Commission’s FP7 programme