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Advanced wildfire detection at power plants
Published on Monday, November 29 2021
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Challenge Expiration Date: January 9, 2022
A wildfire is a destructive and uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation. Causes of wildfire include lightning, human carelessness (e.g. campfires, fireworks, smoldering cigarettes), and burning debris. Recently, climate change and drought have contributed to an increasing number of wildfires, thus, Enel Green Power is searching for a technology to be installed upon renewable power plant properties, which can provide ultra-early detection of these events.
This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.
The environmental challenges the world faces nowadays have never been greater and more complex. Global areas covered by forests and urban woodlands are threatened by natural disasters that have increased dramatically during the last decades, in terms of both frequency and magnitude. Large-scale forest fires are one of the most harmful natural hazards affecting climate change and life around the world. Thus, to minimize their impacts on people and nature, the adoption of well-planned and closely coordinated effective prevention, early warning, and response approaches are necessary.
In this scenario we would like to leverage on the presence of renewable power plants to provide ultra-early fire detection solutions for public and private forests. The systems -to be installed in the power plants’ areas- should also be able to detect fire within the power plant area as well as the surrounding areas.
This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
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For questions about the Challenge and your proposal you can contact: EnelOpenInnovabilityChallenges@wazoku.com
Especially during the summer period, public and private forests are threatened by wildfires. Wildfires are among the most common forms of natural disaster in some regions and can cause damage to property and human life. Moreover, in ecosystems where they are uncommon or where non-native vegetation has encroached, they may have strongly negative ecological effects.
Wildfires may be characterized by a rapid forward rate of spread when burning through dense uninterrupted fuels and can move as fast as more than 10 km/h (6.5 mph) in forests and 22 kilometers per hour (14 mph) in grasslands. Wildfires can advance tangential to the main front to form a flanking front or burn in the opposite direction of the main front by backing.
To this end, strong efforts have been made to avoid or mitigate such consequences by early fire detection or fire risk mapping. Traditionally, forest fires were mainly detected by human observation from fire lookout towers, however, this approach is inefficient, as it is prone to human error and fatigue. On the other hand, conventional sensors for the detection of heat, smoke, flame, and gas typically take time for the particles to reach the point of sensors and activate them. In addition, the range of such sensors is relatively small, hence, a large number of sensors need to be installed to cover large areas. It is therefore necessary to implement fire prevention systems allowing ultra-early fire detection, ideally even before flames start spreading, for a prompt intervention of fire brigades.
In this scenario, leveraging on the presence of renewable power plants close to the forests is key. The objective is to exploit the sharing of the infrastructure built for the construction and operation of the plants by local communities in order to achieve fire prevention in the surrounding forest areas by utilizing innovative technological solutions that allow the development of fires outside the power plants (in neighboring areas - a few kilometers away) to be predicted or, at least, detected.
The aim of this initiative is to exploit new digital services with high added value to support local agronomic and tourism initiatives as well as to offer an improvement in the safety of the territory in terms of environmental/ fire risks, all this by sharing the enabling infrastructures with the communities. The final goal is the prevention of wildfires affecting public and private forests. The renewable power plants are not only a source of clean energy but could therefore also provide many additional services to the local communities, including wildfire prevention.
Enel Green Power is looking for an economical solution for ultra-early fire detection for forests, to be installed in the renewable power plants areas (i.e., wind and photovoltaic). The system should also be able to provide early detection of fires within the power plant.
Submissions should address the following Solution Requirements.
The proposed solutions must:
- Be installed on wind turbine generators or on photovoltaic generators (as opposed to the surrounding area)
- Be able to provide ultra-early (i.e., within 60 minutes, during smoldering phase/incipient/fire growth phase) fire detection for forests (within a radius of 10 kilometers from the power plant)
- Be able to provide ultra-early fire detection for renewable power plants’ components
- Be able to communicate with a central system via a wireless network
- Technology readiness level (TRL) ≥ 7
The solution can also make use of Artificial Intelligence features and use different sources of data, also external from the power plant, in order to improve the detection accuracy.
The submitted proposal should include the following:
- Detailed description of the proposed device and/or technique, including (but not limited to):
- advantages and weaknesses of the proposed solution;
- information about the accuracy in the fire detection in terms of distance and response time;
- information about proposed solution applicability (i.e., type of areas, weather conditions, type of installation);
- information about costs (i.e., components, maintenance).
- Data, case studies, patent and journal references or any additional material that supports the proposed solution.
The proposal should not include any personal identifying information (name, username, company, address, phone, email, personal website, resume, etc.) or any information the Solvers may consider as their Intellectual Property they do not want to share.
All proposers are invited to read carefully the Challenge and the Regulation of this Challenge, attached below in the Attachments section, before submitting a solution.
The employees of Enel Green Power and of the other Companies of the Enel Group who are involved in the organization and management of the Competition or admitted to the Open Innovability Portal back office, as well as their spouses or partners and their relatives up to the fourth degree, are not eligible for participation in this Challenge.
Also, employees of the companies of the Enel Group who have worked in the technical sector or work, in the moment of the challenge, on fire detection activities, or their spouses, partners or any of their relatives up to the fourth grade determined according to Italian law are not eligible for the participation in this Challenge.
Explain your proposal clearly in English, attach documents (max 5 files, 25MB total size) if needed.
The proposals will be admitted until January 9th, 2022 and the evaluation will start after this date.
This is a Theoretical Challenge, which requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the submission by the Seeker.
To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer the exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solver will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on January 9th, 2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.
Specific regulation in the CSA attached at the bottom of this page.
What happens next?
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions. Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria: In case the reward includes "Collaboration with Enel", once suitable solution/s have been identified, Enel will reserve the opportunity to start a collaboration, by way of example, all or part of the following activities: Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback. In case of success, an Enel contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps. The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge. The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), and proof of identify and any required document needed to perform Enel internal Solver assessment. ABOUT INNOCENTIVE InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this Challenge. InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.
Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:
Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback.
In case of success, an Enel contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps.
The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), and proof of identify and any required document needed to perform Enel internal Solver assessment.
InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this Challenge.