BEN-DET Improved air pollution and worker exposure monitoring and control through the development of a near real time benzene specific gas analysis & measurement instrument (BEN-DET)

Country: EU Projects
Start Date:           Duration: 24 months         Project Type: RTD
Contract Number: CT-2004-508107
Organisation Type:  EC Project
Contaminated land-->Risk assessment-->Tools and procedures
Project objectives:
Emissions of the poisonous and carcinogenic chemical benzene are estimated to cause over 10 000 deaths in Europe each year. Although legislation aims to protect 
workers and citizens, current monitoring technologies can only measure cumulative benzene levels over a period of time. The BEN-DET project is now developing
a portable detector capable of measuring benzene concentrations in real time. This breakthrough technology could be used in industry as a ‘benzene alarm’
and by regulators for more accurate benzene analyses. The Co-operative Research project team could make a valuable contribution to the improvement of public
and occupational health and enable effective enforcement of existing legislation.
Project Summary:
Co-operative reserach projects fopr SMEs 
Achieved Objectives:
By the end of the three-year project, the participants hope to have a working, prototype product ready for full commercialisation. The input of the oil giant 
Shell will be invaluable in this respect. As a potential end-user, it will give advice on specifications for the product and field test a prototype device. Ultimately,
its feedback will help BEN-DET to develop a well-designed, well-priced product that will be readily accepted in the VOC detector market. The partners anticipate
that sales would increase quickly – industry and regulators have been calling for such a device for decades. The BEN-DET project could rapidly turn into a successful
business venture for the SMEs involved, while the successful commercialisation of the end product could create hundreds of new jobs, save hundreds of lives,
and help the environment, all at the same time.
Product Descriptions:
Benzene is a widely used in industry. It is a common organic solvent and a precursor in the production of many products, ranging from drugs and dyes to plastics 
and petrol. However, it is also a known carcinogen and its use is highly regulated. Emissions levels have to be tightly controlled as specified in European legislation.
Directive 2000/69/EC states that the “method for the measurement of benzene will be the pumped sampling method on a sorbent cartridge followed by gas chromatographic
determination”. Air is pumped through a cartridge and benzene effectively ‘sticks’ to the walls. The cartridge is then collected and analysed for benzene
in a laboratory. However, there are many problems with this technique, which make it inadequate in numerous circumstances. The collection, transportation
and laboratory analysis of the cartridge is a costly and time-consuming process. It runs the risk of sample degradation and only measures the total exposure
to benzene during the sampling time. Furthermore, the delay between sample collection and availability of results offers no protection from exposure – people
really need to know they are being exposed to benzene when it happens, not that they received a dangerous dose weeks previously. Recognising the market need
for real-time benzene detectors, Ion Science, a small UK manufacturer of photoionisation detectors, has teamed up with several other European SMEs (small
and mediumsized enterprises) to develop such an innovative device. They have formed the EU-funded BEN-DET Co-operative Research project and have asked Pera
in the UK and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft in Germany to help them with their research.
Additional Information:
Lead Institution:  
Ion Science Ltd, Hertfordshire, UK  
1 Ion Science Ltd (UK) 
2 Braun Formenbau GmbH (DE) 
3 Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten 
Forschung E.V. (DE) 
4 Pera Innovation Ltd (UK) 
5 Sarantel Ltd (UK) 
6 Shell International BV (NL) 
7 SRA Instruments (FR) 
8 Vipem Hackert GmbH (DE) 
This information was taken from a source other than the project site.  It came from: 
Co-operative Research projects for SMEs – Volume 1,  EC Publication EUR 21448 
Project Resources:
Funding Programme(s): 
EC Framework Programme 6
Link to Organisations:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  07/12/2005 11:17:00
Updated by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  29/09/2006 15:50:00