Measuring carbon footprint of food and agriculture is gaining interest among consumers and governments. The Ireland-based startup CarbonSpace has raised €900,000 ($1.04 million) seed funding in a round led by The Yield Lab Europe to measure changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions for the farming sector, starting with carbon dioxide.
The startup is using a more accurate measurement approach and plans to fund scaling its business in the EU and the US. It also wants to strengthen its technology core by integrating new sources of data and optimizing machine learning algorithms. It will finalize the self-onboarding platform and develop new products.
CarbonSpace’s platform works as the customer uploads a shapefile of the land and then information about emissions from it is returned with a resolution of as little as one hectare.
At the backend, it’s highly complex, involving a “top-down, bottom-up approach”. This approach combines different data points at varying resolutions to measure what’s happening on the land (bottom-up) separately from what’s happening in the atmosphere (top-down.)
It takes data from various satellites. Near-infrared for greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere; multispectral imagery information about the surface like carbon sequestration, and radar for biomass measurements.
That is because measuring carbon footprint of land is a complex process and there are huge variances between different geographies, soil types, and even within a single field. There is also the uncertainty of how long carbon will stay in the soil – permanence – and for how long it was already there before any verification happened. Measuring soil carbon sequestration is a matter of accuracy and precision which is a great challenge for new measurement technologies.
As to how to measure carbon footprint and how the startup differentiates from the competition, the CEO Oleg Demidov explains: “We are completely focused on CO2, which is not the case for others; they are often trying to provide multiple solutions for farmers and they start with agronomic information around soil health, for example, which makes the carbon data mostly a byproduct.”