Breeze-Team um Co-Founder Robert Heinecke (mittig) © Anne Gaertner

Breeze sensors measuring air quality in Rothenburgsort

Cloud-linked system with some 3,500 measures for improving air quality

Sensors devised by the Hamburg-based Breeze start-up began measuring pollutants like carbon and nitrogen oxides, ozone particulate matter in Rothenburgsort on Friday (July 14, 2017), Hamburg Startups reported. The sensors measure nine centimetres in diameter and gauge the amount of dust, ozone and nitrogen in the air, for instance, on streetlamps. Residents can download real-time data about the local air quality on Plans are being laid to extend the pilot project to other suburbs.

Tests in Hamburg and Ruhr Valley

So far, Breeze sensors have been used mainly indoors where air pollution is a major health risk and can send workspace productivity plunging and the average sickness absence rate soaring, studies have found. The sensors measure pollutants like carbon and nitrogen oxides and ozone in a large office in just 30 seconds. Several mid sized companies in Hamburg and the Ruhr Valley have already tested the sensors.

Funding from TUHH-Startup Dock

The founders Robert Heinecke, Sascha Kuntze and Jan Rübbelke hope to spread the technology to other cities. Heinecke hit on the idea for the sensors during a stay in Istanbul. He explained: “The air was full of smog during winter. It was so bad that you could even feel it on your skin and in your lungs.” On his return to Germany, he and his co-founders put their heads together and came up with the idea for the sensors. Since the launch in 2015, seven more employees specialising in IT and sustainability have joined the team in the Startup Dock at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH).

Analysis of problem linked to solutions

An environmental analytics cloud platform gathers real-time data from the Breeze sensors as well as external data sources. The cloud is linked to a catalogue containing around 3,500 measures e.g. a wall full of algae, traffic management based on air quality or wall paint that filters contaminants for improving the quality of air. The Breeze cloud platform can help facility management, environmental scientists, municipality management and governments to understand air quality and its impact and how to improve air. This in turn saves costs.

The sensors have proven successful in pilot tests, Heinecke noted: “The sensors in one large office traced the bad air quality to employees’ cars parked near the building. The car park was switched to another part of the company’s site and the quality of air in the office improved noticeably.“ Copier machines, heating systems, printers and dirty filters in air conditioning systems can also pollute the air.

Serial production

Following the launch of the project in Rothenburgsort, Breeze has more big plans for 2017. The first sensors for use in offices are due to launch on the market in late 2017. “The sensor technology for indoors and outdoors areas is quite similar. Our outdoor sensors require minimum alterations before going into serial production,“ Heinecke announced.

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