Be it explosive devices in public places or accidents in chemical factories – incidents in which chemical substances are released or explosive devices set off can have devastating consequences for the public and pose tremendous challenges for emergency services. The causes of such disasters are manifold – they can be triggered by terrorism, organised crime or major accidents. The “Civil security – Protection against explosion hazards and chemical accidents” call for proposals is intended to help reduce the number of incidents caused by hazardous substances with the help of preventive measures, research into new identification and detection technologies and reactive crisis management measures.
Funding codes 13N13360 to 13N13366
Germany has managed to prevent a number of planned explosive attacks. The methods used to detect explosives are crucial to the success of such preventive measures. The EVADEX project is developing test methods and materials that will make it possible to compare various trace detection systems directly. The aim is that the findings will be used to draw up a DIN Spec for trace detection systems to enable end users to choose the ideal device for their needs.
EVADEX project outline (only available in German)
Funding codes 13N13271 to 13N13275
Though sewer networks may be hidden from view, they are key components in our utility infrastructure. People tend not to be aware of the hazard potential they pose in terms of explosions. Leaked petrol, household cleaning agents and waste water that has been stagnant for prolonged periods can create explosive gas mixtures, which can pose a hazard for sewer maintenance staff as well as for others. The FIDEX project was therefore working on an autonomous micro flame ionisation detector with the aim of facilitating swifter and more effective detection of hazardous atmospheres in sewer systems. The detector could be operated regardless of whether there is an external hydrogen supply since it generates the required hydrogen itself. This is intended to make it possible to efficiently monitor previously inaccessible or difficult-to-access areas of sewers.
FIDEX project outline (only available in German)
Funding codes 13N13126 to 13N13129
To be able to take action in a safe and effective manner in the event of an accident involving hazardous substances or an industrial fire, firefighting services must have as many information about the situation as possible. Toxic gases and other hazardous substances pose a major challenge because they are often invisible and difficult to detect. The partners on the FIRGAS project were thus developing a portable measuring device that will be able to identify fire gases and chemicals rapidly and reliably at the incident scene and determine the concentration levels. The device is intended to enable the firefighters to gain a precise picture of the situation quickly so that they can choose a course of action that is effective and safe in the case concerned.
FIRGAS project outline (only available in German)
Funding codes 13N13178 to 13N13180
Apart from fighting fires, fire brigades are also deployed in other incidents, such as accidents in chemical factories. In this work, they depend on mobile detection systems for reliable detection of any hazardous substances that have been released and could put themselves and, more importantly, nearby members of the public at risk. The partners on the Horatio joint project were therefore researching the potential offered by a terahertz sensor system that can be used for rapid gas detection both in normal conditions and in the event of an incident. In addition to the miniaturisation of the system for mobile use, functions such as remote retrieval of sensor data were to be developed. The technology is intended to bring about a further increase in fire brigades’ ability to respond quickly to accidents involving chemicals.
Horatio project outline (only available in German)
Funding codes 13N13286 to 13N13288
Whenever luggage is found abandoned at, for example, an airport or train station, its contents have to be checked. Current methods provide a visualisation of the content or can detect traces of explosives or incendiary substances on the surface of the item. However, it is not yet possible to say anything about the chemical composition of substances inside the object. The LAGEF project was taking an innovative approach to this issue – the idea is to realize a laser-drilling system to take samples from inside the suspicious item. The system will be operated from a remote-controlled robot platform of the kind used by police bomb disposal officers. The project will thus help ensure reliable detection of the substances in suspected explosives, enabling the risk to be assessed quickly and accurately.
LAGEF project outline (only available in German)
Funding codes 13N13276 to 13N13280
When luggage gets left behind in public places, airports or train stations, the result is a major police operation. Even if most abandoned luggage turns out to be harmless, the officers have to assume that there is a potential hazard and check whether an improvised explosive or incendiary device is involved. As well as assessing the potential threat quickly, it is also very important to secure any evidence so that it can be used in criminal proceedings. The partners on the “USBV-Inspektor” joint project were therefore exploring the possibilities offered by a sensor suite comprising a millimetre wave scanner with which to screen the luggage, a 3D range scanner and a high-resolution camera. Mounted on a robotic platform, it will enable explosives and incendiary devices inside luggage to be detected quickly from a safe distance and extensive evidence to be secured for assessment in legal proceedings.
USBV-Inspektor project outline (only available in German)