12.11.2021. Since Monday we got to know the winner of this year’s edition of the Firefighting StartUp Europe Awards, which is none other than NITROFIREX. Its proposal consists in the development of a drone, with the particular characteristic of fighting forest fires at night. With the highest score among the candidates, this project convinced the jury members, and received an European acceleration ticket valued in 10,000 euros in mentoring services and support from European project experts.
The award ceremony took place in the Scottish city of Glasgow, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) is currently taking place. Specifically, and taking advantage of this unique setting, the name of the winner was announced during one of the official side events inside the European Union pavilion at this major world forum. The event, entitled Forest ecosystems trends and innovation: satellite observation, simulations, and firefighting, was attended by Juan Manuel Revuelta, Director-General of the Finnova Foundation, who had the opportunity to talk about the CILIFO project and the best practices of its accelerator Firefighting Open Innovation Lab. With him was the Minister of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Spatial Planning of the Canary Islands, José Antonio Valbuena Alonso, who was in charge of revealing the name of the winner and gave the floor, virtually, to Luis Bordallo Álvarez, CEO of NITROFIREX, who, moved, thanked for this recognition and underlined the importance of innovative and technological solutions.
Innovation in the area of forest management is an unfinished business, and not for lack of ideas. The problem lies in the scarcity of resources, since there is a variety of ideas and projects that could be more efficient alternatives to the solutions currently used. However, many of these solutions do not materialise in effective tools and methodologies due to lack of resources. With the intention of facilitating access to these funds and promoting the development of technologies that may represent a paradigm shift in the face of such a serious problem as forest fires, the Firefighting StartUp Europe Awards were created, an open innovation methodology that aims to promote this technological drive and adapt forest management to current times.
The Jury for this edition was composed of María José Valero (director of Talent Growth Management Business and People), Sofía Martins (Project Manager at Irradiare), Rudy Aernoudt (Economist and Professor at the Universities of Ghent and Nancy), Jordi Bentanachs (Director of the European Association of Industry, Technology and Innovation), Valentín Gómez (Deputy Director of Innovation and Development at Tragsa) and José Luis Muñoz (expert in Innovation and Transformation). There was also an Advisory Committee composed of 3 representatives of beneficiary entities from the CILIFO project, with voice but no vote, Juan Antonio Ruso, from the Environment and Water Agency of Andalusia, Pedro Chavez, from AMAL – Algarve Intermunicipal Community, and José Manuel Requena, Director of European projects at Finnova, who evaluated the applications and issued its assessments, awarding the highest score to Nitrofirex’s proposal.
In this 3rd edition, 13 companies from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Brazil and Mexico participated in the competition, all of them tackling at least one of the three challenges: habitat prevention, extinction and regeneration. Below, a brief presentation of the candidates (in alphabetical order), led by the winner:
NITROFIREX S.L. Drone, with the particular feature of fighting forest fires at night:
Nitrofirex’s innovative patented “drone” is designed with the capacity to fight forest fires at night. In a fast, safe, secure, low cost and more flexible way, these drones aim to improve the operational capacity of the large number of aerial assets, planes and helicopters, used in this aerial work around the world.
Aratos.Net Ltd. “HOOPER – Holistic forest protection platform “
A holistic and modular solution that provides results in advance, facilitating decision making throughout the entire disaster management cycle around fires: Prevention – Preparedness – Response – Recovery.
Cosmos Pics. Remote detection for automatic prioritisation of defendable areas and monitoring for forest fire mitigation
Screening of free and commercial satellite imagery that shows what has been done in terms of vegetation and fire fuel reduction in defensible spaces, without the need to go on site. It measures vegetation health, vegetation height, soil and air moisture, and combines these measurements in defensible spaces analysis.
DISPOSITIVOS COMODIN S.L. Ergonomic devices for forestry tools
Mangos Comodín is a registered trademark that designs, manufactures and markets universal ergonomic devices, unique in the market, which comply with the criteria and improvement proposals established in the extensive scientific literature (analyses, studies and technical reports carried out by the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia, IBV) on Occupational Risk Prevention applied to the ergonomic design of equipment, utensils and manual work tools.
The Fogos.pt website and its app for iOS, Android and Huawei, shows active fires in Portugal in real time. It also sends a push notification when a new fire starts.
G2G.ALGAE SOLUTIONS S.L. Application of microalgae cultures to accelerate the recovery of fire-damaged soils
Use of microalgae cultivation as a tool for the recovery of natural resources. Among the applications of microalgae, G2G algae focus on the remediation of degraded soils, the production of agricultural biostimulants and the treatment of sources for livestock and agri-food companies, significantly reducing the carbon footprint in all these processes.
Lluvia Sólida – Firefighting with Solid Rain
Solid rain is a technology that allows you to retain moisture and keep the root of any plant, tree, vegetable, etc., hydrated for weeks without the need for irrigation or rain, in a safe and environmentally friendly way. It is a granule, that in contact with water, expands up to 400 times its weight in water, gradually releasing moisture into the root, this withdraws the moisture from the solid rain according to its needs, after that time it returns to its original state, rehydrating with the next irrigation or rain, repeating the process for up to 8 years, depending on use.
NASSAT – Network and Satellite Systems FIPAS – Forest Fire Prediction Alarm System
FIPAS (Forest Fire Prediction Alarm System) is a system that uses Artificial Intelligence techniques related to Machine Learning and Deep Learning to efficiently explore different sources of information to identify “hot spots” and their causes.
Nemétona_ Innovative construction solutions from forest raw materials
4.0 Industrial business project is specialised in the manufacture and marketing of innovative construction solutions made from forest raw materials from the Cuenca Mountains in particular, and from the entire Iberian System in general. Aims to protect our forests by promoting Responsible Forest Management, using a second transformation that provides added value to wood and other forest raw materials.
Quiron Digital Flareless – Near-term wildfire forecast
Flareless reports the risk of a forest fire with 90% accuracy, 10 days in advance and a resolution of 10 metres, providing opportunities for preventive and targeted actions, and applicable in any part of the world. It uses satellite data to provide information on vegetation, water deficit, terrain slope, anthropogenic factors and weather forecasts.
TECHMAP. TECHMAP: Advanced robotic rapid response system for automatic suppression of forest fires from a distance
The project consists of a disruptive, unconventional and military technology applied to civil protection functions, specifically designed to intervene in all phases that represent the challenges set for the Alentejo Algarve Andalusia Euroregion in the integrated management of forest fires: Prevention, Extinction and Recovery/Rehabilitation of burnt land.
THEKSFACTORY, S.L. BIOCOMPUESTOS- From forestry waste to consumer goods
AKSFactory works to merge old methods of handling natural raw materials with the latest production technology for the manufacture of consumer goods. The service starts with forestry and mineral exploration, their processing and appropriate milling that allows us to develop composites useful in different manufacturing stages such as moulding, sculpting, CNC milling and 3D printing.
Umgrauemeio – Applied Intelligence for Reducing Forest Fires and CO2 emissions
The Pantera® platform translates the fundamentals of forest fire fighting into technological solutions for prevention and preparation, early detection and rapid response. Making the fire brigade resilient and safe, reducing losses and CO2 emissions from avoided fires.