Challenge 2

This challenge focused on innovative tools applied in a marine environment to automate the cleaning of air ventilation systems and improve air quality on ships.

Applying lessons learned from technologies matured during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration in indoor environments, could inform the development of more effective solutions for cleaning air ventilation systems on ships.

Award: $175,000

Rules & Requirements

An eligible applicant can submit one proposal per challenge. Applications can be submitted in English or French.

Deadline: April 14, 2024 at 5:00 pm ADT

The application must include:

  • Organization description
  • Description of solution & impact
  • Organization capability and resources to complete the challenge (financial statement submission will be required for winner)
  • Level of innovation of proposed solution


COVE’s Naval Technology Innovation Challenge is Pan-Atlantic in scope and open to commercial and non-commercial organizations. 

  • The challenge is open to incorporated businesses in Atlantic Canada
  • Small and medium-sized businesses, as well as Indigenous organizations
  • Post-secondary institutions and other organizations can apply only if they partner with small or medium-sized businesses or Indigenous groups

Evaluation Process

The evaluation will consist of a panel review of all applications based on weighted values per category (solution fit 25%, impact 20%, expertise 15%, resources 25%, innovation 5%, timeline 10%).

The selection panel is comprised of members from COVE, Thales, National Research Council, ACOA and an industry partner. After applications close, the selection panel will score with an assessment package. Once completed, scores will be combined and a final meeting of the panelists to review results and agree on a selected company will take place. The winner will be announced once a selection is made. COVE will work with the applicant prior to sharing any information publicly. Financial statements must be submitted by the winner.

Challenge Description

Challenge #2: Clean Air in Ships

Automating the cleaning of air ventilation systems on ships helps mitigate health risks associated with mould and other airborne irritants. The challenge lies in developing robust engineering solutions that can effectively detect and remove mould without causing damage to the ventilation system or other components. Research and development in this area could lead to safer and healthier environments for sailors and more efficient maintenance practices for ship crews.

Solutions should include one (1) or more of the following main criteria:

  1. Technologies that can continuously, in real-time, identify the presence of mould or other contaminants when they are first present in the ship’s air systems. For example, technology that could locate hotspots and / or the source of the problem areas and then relay live information to the ship’s engineers.
  2. Technologies, preferably automated, that can clean through the most challenging stretches of ventilation duct systems on ships. This could include preventative routine work / cleaning as well as targeted corrective work against smartly found hotspots.
  3. Solutions that continually quantify both the presence and removal of mould in a user-friendly manner

Additional considerations:

  • The solution must have the potential to be a viable solution which could demonstrably improve the air quality in ships for the practical benefit of sailor’s health
  • Explore technologies that can be installed within ventilation ducts to clean the air and surfaces continuously. These systems should be designed for easy installation and minimal disruption to the ship’s operations.
  • Develop non-invasive techniques, such as remote sensing or imaging, to identify problem areas within ventilation systems without requiring physical access or disassembly
  • Bidders should demonstrate awareness of government security, clearance requirements and associated timelines if the exchange of engineering data is a necessary part of the proposal

Thales’ Goals:

  • Play a leadership role in the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) and Joint Support Ships (JSS), also known as AJISS, program
  • Leverage the unique expertise and velocity of start-ups / SMEs and their ecosystem
  • Accelerate the AJISS innovation roadmap by proposing the resulting solution as a Value Engineering Change Proposal to the AJISS customer


After the proposal evaluation, selection, and award phase, the project milestones will include quick research/analysis, design review, prototype construction, practical presentation, and project report analysis. The project report will include engineering factors and a business case for potential future work. A schedule will be agreed upon and issued after the successful award.

Submit Application

Submit Application