VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd has launched an innovative solution to decrease the risk of barn fires that cause property losses and business disruption for farmers. VTT's real-time monitoring system has already saved over EUR 100,000 in losses – on one French farm alone.
VTT has developed a solution based on wireless sensing to prevent one of the main causes of barn fires. In 20 to 35% of cases the fire originates from spontaneous auto-combustion of hay. This natural phenomenon is a global threat that causes tremendous financial losses and psychological trauma. In the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe it accounts for annual costs adding up to hundreds of millions of euro.
The market for VTT's innovation is sizeable, with 500 billion hay bales produced on a global level every year. Capturing just 1% of this market would add up to a multi-million euro business. VTT is looking for financial partners to commercialise its unique monitoring system.
VTT's innovative solution is based on wireless temperature and moisture probes inserted into hay bales during hay storage. These probes communicate with a common base station, which relays the data to cloud services. Farmers can follow the entire haystack's condition in real time and receive alarm messages on abnormal situations. This system is used in Finland and France and has already demonstrated its value to the farming community by preventing a barn fire in France in September 2015. The estimated potential damage was over EUR 100,000.
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