Innovation Exchange challenge: Remote measurement of carbon sequestration on UK farms
Innovation Exchange and Bloci are looking for solutions for measuring carbon sequestration on UK farms, to replace laboratory-analysed samples.
Shortlisted applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their solution to Bloci. The final successful applicant will deliver a proof-of-concept trial with Bloci. The project team will receive a £25,000 grant award, to be apportioned between Bloci and the successful applicant, as agreed on a bilateral basis.
Bloci provides consultancy and implementation for Blockchain Solutions. It has set up the BlociCarbon marketplace to match UK farmers that need to sell carbon credits, with companies that need to buy carbon credits.
The Innovation Exchange is supporting Bloci, through the InnovateUK KTN Net Zero Catalyst programme, to find solutions for measuring carbon sequestration on UK farms. Bloci wishes to engage innovators to find measurement technologies that can improve on periodic samples that have to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. The solution provider will be able to access part of a £25,000 grant award to work with Bloci on delivery of a proof-of-concept trial.
Carbon credit self-assessment process
A carbon credit self-assessment process is currently in place for UK farmers. They are administered carbon credits, in return for proven additional farming activity that results in increased carbon sequestration. Additional carbon sequestration activities must be above and beyond the usual operating activity of a given farm. In order to achieve this, a farmer would usually have to invest time and money in a piece of land and may also lose growing or grazing land.
There are three main self-assessment products on the market, that are currently used by approximately sixteen thousand farms across the UK. These are the Farm Carbon Toolkit, Agrecalc and The Cool Farm Tool. All of these kits provide a complete business toolkit for assessing carbon production of the entire farm business and are recognised by the National Farmers Union.
Larger farms have existing bilateral relationships with large carbon credit purchasers, but many smaller farms or landowners don’t have this offtake opportunity.
Current manual process for data collection
The complete business toolkits include manual soil sampling requirements (see figure 1), whereby a farmer must collect ~2-3 soil samples on land that it has designated for additional carbon sequestration activities. Guidance is provided about where to take the sample from but this is not validated and specific geolocations are not provided. These samples are sent away and analysed in a laboratory. Every 12 months, a farmer is required to work through the toolkit again to see if it has gained or lost carbon.
Bloci would like to be able to improve the current data collection method for carbon content in soils, such that data collection can be undertaken more frequently than once a year and potentially over wider sample areas. Bloci aims to acquire more accurate soil carbon content figures, cheaply so that data can be gathered more widely. This would have the benefits of providing higher fidelity data on the carbon sequestration process and improve the BlociCarbon platform. In turn, this would:
- Enable farmers to optimise the self-assessment process
- Encouraging smaller farmers to more easily undertake carbon sequestration assessments and find offtake opportunities
- Provide immutable records and validation of carbon credit origins for buyers of carbon credits
Entrants to this competition must:
- Be SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
- Be UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base
- Have not exceeded its Minimum Financial Assistance limit (or De Minimis, where relevant). Further details at the link below.
Rewards & Benefits
Shortlisted applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to Bloci. The final winning solution provider will receive:
- A portion of a £25,000 grant award to work with Bloci on delivery of a proof-of-concept trial (exact terms and funding amount to be agreed between Bloci and the winning solution provider)
- Support from KTN, if it is required
- Invitations to attend or present at KTN events
- Investor introductions, if required
- Support if any Innovate UK or similar competitions are relevant.
For full details of the functional and technical requirements and more information, visit the Innovation Exchange site below.
Innovate UK KTN’s Innovation Exchange is a cross-sector programme supporting innovation transfer by matching industry challenges to innovative companies from other sectors. It does this by putting large businesses with technical needs in contact with companies who have the right innovative solutions, for faster development of novel solutions.