Portable environmental measuring device records concentrations of noxious substances especially efficiently
Matthias Schmittmann and Johannes Weber, Class 14 students at NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management, have together with the Institute of Measurement Technology at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) developed a portable environmental measuring device that records concentrations of noxious substances especially efficiently in the course of hazardous waste site management.
"The device analyzes samples up to 30 times faster than conventional technologies," says chemical engineer Schmittmann, "and you get initial results in about 30 seconds." Weber, whose focus as an industrial engineer is on the cost benefits, adds that "substantial personnel cost savings can be achieved in this way."
The new miniature gas chromatograph with a photo ionization detector (GC-PID) scores points for accuracy as well as speed of measurement. Open spaces can be investigated in detail for benzine or solvent contamination by means of soil air analysis. The device also identifies concentrations of benzole, another health hazard.
Schmittmann and Weber are currently completing their master's program at TUHH and NIT. Along with their engineering studies they have chosen to study Technology Management at NIT. Majoring in Entrepreneurial Management, their task was to develop possible business ideas from technical products and processes and to analyze them and draw up a business plan. In their case the idea came from the Institute of Measurement Technology at TUHH. "What made it so attractive for us was that a prototype already existed," Weber says. That enabled them in initial discussions with customers and experts to demonstrate the benefits of the device and gain a clearer idea of whether and how the device would fare in the market.
To take the prototype of the measuring device to market readiness the two 25-year-old students joined forces with electrical engineer Ivalyo Radev to found a business startup by the name of bentekk. Initial funding has been secured. In May the trio received an Exist startup grant from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. The gas chromatograph also won them the 2014 Hamburg Innotech Prize in a startup competition launched by TuTech Innovation GmbH and hit-Technopark. All in all, they will now have about €100,000 at their disposal for bentekk in the year ahead. The young entrepreneurs aim to use the money to develop the device further. It might, for example, be suitable for use in building diagnosis or the chemical industry.