A pioneering German air-quality monitoring company has been named one of the EU’s most promising start-ups by the European Parliament. While Breeze’s sensor network solution focuses on being simple to use, it hides complex data-processing technology behind an equally complex problem.
Air pollution is now considered one of the largest environmental health threats of our time, leading to around 400 000 premature deaths in the EU every year, according to the European Environment Agency’s Air quality in Europe 2017 report, and costing well over €20 billion a year.
Many cities are recognising the need to act quickly on poor air quality in order to prevent major health incidents. Breathing in “particulates” (tiny particles, smaller than 0.01mm) can increase the risk of respiratory complaints, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
Breeze’s co-founders, Robert Heinecke and Sascha Kuntze, started the company in Hamburg to provide low-cost but powerful monitoring of both indoor and outdoor air quality that, in their own words, “makes sense of our surroundings”. Breeze’s high-end sensors can be deployed discretely in public spaces to gauge not only dangerous particulate levels, temperature and humidity but also a range of emissions – carbon monoxide (CO), carbon-, nitrogen- and sulphur dioxide (CO2, NOx, SO2), ozone (O3), and ammonia (NH3) – which can be harmful to human health and the environment.
The start-up’s sensors provide real-time information about dangerous pollution levels, and the same data can pinpoint hotspots, where traffic jams are forming, where parks or car-free zones may be needed, and a host of other countermeasures cities can employ. Supported by mobile apps and web tools, the data can also be used to engage citizens in ‘clean air’ initiatives, and track progress over time.
“The quality of air indoors is equally as important,” stresses Breeze’s CEO, Heinecke. “Strategically placed in the office, for example, our sensor network can provide actionable data to ensure employee health as well.”
Benefiting from both a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and EU innovation support under the FIWARE Accelerate programme, Breeze Technologies has since been recognised by the Hamburg Founders’ Awards and the European Parliament. Addressing MEPs in Brussels, on 28 November 2017, Heinecke said Breeze’s environment intelligence platform provides comprehensive air-quality data based on public measurement stations, satellite and local sensors, from which insight can be gained and action taken.
Breeze Technologies – https://www.breeze-technologies.de
Forbes profile – https://www.forbes.com/profile/breeze-technologies/
EU Top 50 Winners 2017 – https://eutop50.eu/winners.html
Breeze Technologies one of EU’s “most promising” startups – https://www.breeze-technologies.de/blog/breeze-technologies-one-of-eus-most-promising-startups/
Air quality in Europe 2017 – https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/air-quality-in-europe-2017
Clean air for all – http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/cleaner_air/
FIWARE Accelerator Programme – https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/fiware-accelerator-programme