First customers for Alivion’s methanol detector

Zurich-based startup Alivion specialising in mobile chemical sensing devices has launched its first product. The spark-M-20 is a handheld methanol meter designed to measure even the lowest concentrations (0.01 vol%) within only 2 minutes. The first customers in the distillery industry are using the technology.

Existing laboratory instruments bulky and expensive while gas sensors cannot distinguish harmful from harmless molecules. Founded in 2020, ALIVION provides mobile chemical sensing devices that can trace single molecules by leveraging its revolutionary Molecule Select technology based on breakthroughs in nanotechnology at ETH Zürich. Its product, Spark M-20 is the first device enabling on-site measurements of methanol in liquids, thanks to automatic temperature control both when firing in the cellar and outside. Enabled by Alivion's Molecule Select technology, methanol is quantified at concentrations as low as 0.01 vol% within only 2 minutes.  The product allows customers to enhance the quality of their products or optimize their products and processes.

First devices have been sold to distilleries for use in fruit brandies, grappa, whiskey, Calvados, Brandy, Sherry, Cognac, as well as wine. Up to 1,000 measurement results can be stored on the device and transferred to the PC. The company based at Technopark Zurich has won some of the most renowned distilleries n Switzerland and abroad as customers.

Among the first customers are S. Fassbind AG, the oldest oldest and most traditional distillery in Switzerland, ETTER SOEHNE AG and Z'GRAGGEN DISTILLERIE AG, which has been awarded "Swiss Distiller of the Year" several times and has been practicing the craft of distilling for 3 generations.

A wide range of applications
Besides distilleries, the Alivion’s portable gas sensors are also applicable in areas of winemaking, healthcare (breath analysis), environmental monitoring, occupational and food safety through the detection of relevant molecules.  In the EU, the USA and other countries, there are strict legal regulations for methanol in beverages, hand sanitizers or in the air we breathe.

"Until now, samples of alcoholic beverages had to be sent to laboratories, which is expensive, time-consuming and requires trained personnel. With the Spark M-20, a measurement can now be done directly on site with results obtained in less than 2 minutes," explains Andreas Günt ,”xplains Andreas Güntner, CEO & co-founder of Alivion.

(Press release/RAN)
Photo: Fassbind’s production manager Peter Anderhub