Perennial Aims To Turn Soil Into Largest Carbon Sink

Perennial Aims To Turn Soil Into Largest Carbon Sink - Carbon Herald
Tractor spraying soybean field at spring. Image: Fotokostic/Shutterstock

Perennial, formerly known as Cloud Agronomics, is building a leading measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) platform for soil-based carbon removal. Verifying both insets and offsets, the company’s ultimate goal is to turn soils into the largest carbon sink in the world. 

When it comes to insets, the food companies and the Consumer Packaged Goods industry collaborate with Perennial to measure and decrease CO2 emissions from agriculture. For offsets, the US-based company works with developers of soil CO2 offset projects to quantify and verify soil carbon offsets that are then sold to company polluters, which strive to meet their net-zero commitments.  

In May 2022, Perennial received an additional Series A $18M in funding – the largest-ever for soil carbon MRV – from leading investors in climate action. The round was led by Temasek and Bloomberg, together with SineWave Ventures and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund

Bloomberg is committed to supporting innovative tech that helps companies achieve net zero targets, said Ben Macdonald, Global Head of Enterprise Product at the company. “Our investment in Perennial is a natural fit for this philosophy.”

The Agricultural Industry Context 

Among the biggest CO2 emitters, the agricultural industry also has the potential to offer powerful solutions to negate the effects of climate change. Agricultural soils can sequester and store billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, and farmers can lead the process through regenerative farming while earning from carbon offsets. 

Perennial is committed to following the Greenhouse Gas reduction standards and works with leading registries that make it easier for landowners to generate offset credits. The company also operates in Australia, where it follows the Australian Clean Energy Regulator and collaborates with the biggest project developer to aid regenerative agricultural practices at lower cost. 

Relevant: Agreena Receives $4.7M Funding To Promote Regenerative Farming

‍“The measurement, reporting and verification of carbon stored in soil remains costly and complicated, and current methods do not scale to millions of acres,” said co-founder and CEO Jack Roswell. “What is needed is an accurate, cost-effective, and highly scalable way to measure and report carbon stored in soil everywhere, all the time. That is the key to unlocking the enormous market potential for trusted soil-based carbon offsets.” 

The Science Behind Soil-Based Carbon Removal 

Perennial’s technology is developed based on years of academic research into remote sensing and ground observations as a way to map soil CO2 in agricultural soils. The company’s Chief Scientist Dr. James Kellner from Brown University leads the research at the company. “By estimating carbon sequestration in soils using remote sensing in place of physical sampling, we can take advantage of lessons learned during the same transition in forests over the last few decades, where remote sensing has become the international gold standard that replaced on-the-ground measurements,” he said. 

The company’s technology decreases or entirely removes the need for physical soil sampling, thus bringing down the costs for carbon offsets, Keller added. Last year, Perennial designed the highest resolution map of soil carbon across the U.S. 

The Crucial Role of Nature-Based Carbon Removal

Carbon markets currently face a supply constraint: the demand for carbon offsets is higher than the supply of verified offsets. This leads to companies consuming supply faster than it is generated, which in some cases means creating advance-market commitments to speed up carbon removal tech by guaranteed future demand. 

In order to address this gap and meet its emission reduction targets, the world needs nature-based carbon removal. The benefits of agricultural soils as one of the nature-based solutions is that they can remove CO2 without encroaching on new land, while simultaneously improving soil health, biodiversity, and crop yields.

‍Read more: Global Carbon Market Value Reaches $851B 

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