Safety environmental engineering - academic spin Off UNIPA
Name of the sustainable initiative
SALAMANDER - SAfety, cLeaning And MAinteNance DEvice foR photovoltaic panels
Photovoltaic cells turn light into electricity and are an important alternative to fossil fuels. However, maintenance of solar panels is often neglected and the consequences can be grave: water infiltration can lead to oxidation and short-circuits; accumulated dirt (dust, leaves, bird droppings, etc.) increases the fire hazard while decreasing a panel's efficiency; and mini-breakages can cause lead, chromium and other dangerous materials to leak out.
The dangers of maintenance neglect are exacerbated by the fact that parts of the solar panel systems cannot be shut off and have continuous current. Both the people performing the maintenance and the members of the fire brigade who respond when a panel catches fire, run serious risks: electrocution, falls (because panels are often on roofs or hard-to-reach surfaces), and thermal burns.
SALAMANDER is an ""Intelligent"" self-controlled protective additional device for solar panels. Salamander includes a IoT system, which consists on AI control elements based on deep learning frameworks, and a controlled SYSTEM which cleans the solar panel and allows its electric disconnection avoiding fire events. The IoT system consists of an integrated system of sensors and artificial vision (AV) technologies which remotely controls the SYSTEM'S activation. SALAMANDER is the first solution in the market to tackle all of these problems.
SALAMANDER is integrated in the panel and is fully automated. The system has several advantages: less maintenance work, more safety, less energy lost and an increased lifespan of up to 10 years.
SALAMANDER allows the photovoltaic apparatus both to maintain an almost constant energy production in time and to increase the duration of the solar panels at least of a 50% of the actual duration. Furthermore the use of SALAMANDER device presents several connected advantages: more safety conditions for workers, less probability of panel's damage and of panel's fire, easy and automatic panel's maintenance in different operating conditions (i.e. in the presence both of snow and of sand and of dirty).
Moreover, during maintenance procedure and in the event of an emergency, the system cuts down the generation of voltage to 0 Volt. SALAMANDER is the only solution to do this SALAMANDER is a market creating innovation, and provides the following combination of unique advantages:
SALAMANDER will be distributed among solar panel producers. By offering a product that combines safety and maintenance, our solution will add value to their brand name and services, and by extending the lifespan of panels it will help them cut costs from the disposal of decommissioned units and comply with UK and EU legislation.
Users will be commercial communities and factories. Our marketing campaigns will emphasise the convenience of SALAMANDER in arrays of PV panels to be installed on rooftops, which are usually hard for firefighters and maintenance crew to reach and operate.
The strength of our product has allowed us to get in touch with various clients in UK , from industries such as agronomy, energy, construction and petrochemistry, who have shown interest in SALAMANDER.
We aim to create innovative security-related solutions to protect people and the environment. To do that, we follow a 2-fold strategy based on:
- Security and risk management. As part of this strategy, we work close to public authorities and civil protection bodies, which provide us with invaluable input and information.
- Constant research and development in order to provide a full range of security-related products. One of the most interesting innovations on our pipeline is a smart flood alarm system involving universities, territorial control bodies and civil protection bodies.
- SALAMANDER is a vital part of our strategy, as it will be our first product in the market.
From the aforementioned it is clear that the problems of maintance and of safety condition are strictly related each other. SALAMANDER is the unique solution for both problems: it is also an effective solution that helps keep solar panels clean, efficient and safe for the installation and for the operators.
The scientific-technical objectives of the invention are the improving the technology of solar system providing great security with the use of recyclable and green materials. The present invention is equipped with a mechanical system, which is also remote controlled, having the purpose of materially obscure the photovoltaic panel so that the irradiation generated on the same panel is reduced and the generated voltage is limited until to reach values virtually equal to zero.
SALAMANDER is the first all-in-1 solution of these problems. It is a market creating innovation. In fact, it is the first and only multifunctioning system that provides the combination of the following advantages:
- it allows users the cleaning of the solar panel through an automated and remotely controlled device and thus without the presence of workers or the activation of external procedures;
- it allows the electric disconnection of the solar panel; it allows us to guarantee the safety conditions for workers and/or operators both during interventions of normal use (maintenance) and during emergency condition (fire, etc.).
Thus SALAMANDER responds to wider economic, social and environmental challenges by the following outcomes:
Over short term:
- reduction of solar panel damages for loss of cleaning and maintenance
- the reduction of the probability of occurrence of fire events of the solar panel and the consequent propagation to the rest of the activity when it is installed;
- the safety of workers
- the reduction of the emission in the environment of hazardous chemicals substances (such as CO2, boron, cadmium tellurium, gallium arsenide, phosphorus) due to the possible fire accident (fire exposure, or explosion). Some of these products are known because they can induce toxicological problems or cause damage to the environment.
- the reduction of the inhalation by workers of hazardous chemicals substances (such as CO2, boron, cadmium tellurium, gallium arsenide, phosphorus) during the risk event
Over long term
- increase the life of the solar systems (of around 50%), safeguarding it from the elements when necessary or in the hours of unproductive; increase energy efficiency thanks to the periodic sweeping of the panel surface. In fact, the cover is equipped with bristles on the end of a string is the mobile, capable of removing dust and foliage (frequently causes of the phenomenon of the hot spot that is one of the main sources of fire); that regulate activation and programmable will also help to maintain active working mechanisms, so as to reduce risks of malfunction that may be caused by the non-usage;
We also aim to include the use of SALAMANDER in security-related regulations and also in the legal requirements for solar panel maintenance. To this aim, we are currently collaborating with the Italian National Fire Brigade to identify and set out relative specific rules. By doing this, we will position SALAMANDER as the standard in its field.
Eng Giuseppe Ragonese - CEO
What sector is the business involved in
Resources (energy, water, forests), Safety
List of countries the product is present outside the base country
List of regions the company could be targeting
Number of employees