Environment: New biodegradable sensor for building

Developing a system of autonomous and biodegradable sensors for monitoring environmental parameters inside homes, schools and offices. This is the objective of the project SENSIBILE (autonomous and biodegradable sensors for environmental monitoring in buildings) that ENEA is conducting as part of its Proof of Concept program, jointly with the company PROMETE.

“The goal is to promote a healthy, safe and comfortable living environment for people through the use of smart, biodegradable, efficient and eco-sustainable devices, which enable to measure and analyse environmental parameters and to control and optimize air conditioning and purification systems ”, ENEA researcher Giovanni Landi of the Portici Research Center (Naples) and project coordinator, pointed out.

The sensors will be autonomous – i.e. energy self-sufficient – and their use will allow energy savings on consumption and a reduction in operating costs. “These systems will be distributed and interconnected, but their biodegradability will reduce the environmental impact of the disposal of the electronic waste produced in our homes,”  Giovanni Landi continued.

The devices will be manufactured using biomaterials obtained from renewable resources like gelatin and cellulose. “These materials are intrinsically eco-sustainable, biodegradable, abundant (they can be obtained from industrial waste), renewable and characterized by properties not easily reproducible in synthetic commercial products” Giovanni Landi said.


In a first phase the project has the objective of creating a biodegradable prototype, integrating a power generator feeding at least one type of sensor (e.g. temperature, humidity and CO2), in order to demonstrate its technological feasibility. Once validated in the laboratory, in collaboration with PROMETE and the ENEA Laboratory of Nanomaterials and Devices, the technology will be transferred to an industrial environment.

In a second phase, it will be integrated into the smart home by monitoring the environmental parameters through a network of autonomous sensors distributed throughout the home. The sensors will be designed to work for a pre-programmed life time (days / months / years), and then degrade in a way safe for people and the environment. This will allow the user to manage the end-life of the final product in an environmentally sustainable and conscious way.

Temperature, humidity and air pollution significantly affect the quality of the environments in which we live and work. Data by the World Health Organization show that 92% of the world’s population spends most of their time indoors and that around 3 million deaths each year are attributable to indoor pollution.
For more information please contact:

Giovanni Landi, ENEA – Integrated Energy Solutions Laboratory, giovanni.landi@enea.it


Source ENEA Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development




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