Climate-smart products – Earth Optic’s Soil Carbon Project

Climate-smart products – Earth Optic’s Soil Carbon Project
Image source: EarthOptics

EarthOptics launched its Soil Carbon Project™, a product labelling initiative to benefit the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry. The company serves as the one-stop shop for soil carbon measurements.

It enables CPG companies to raise awareness among consumers worldwide on agriculturally sourced ingredients which could help achieve carbon neutrality goals through verified net additions of solid carbon.

The tech firm brought out the project on November 16 2021 and leverages machine learning (ML) to advance the measurement and analysis of essential elements of soil and its characteristic properties.

Soil carbon sequestration is a crucial piece of the climate-change mitigation puzzle since almost 45 per cent of global soil is used for agricultural purposes, and soil can uphold up to 2.3 and 3.5 times more carbon as compared to the amount that is stored in atmospheric CO2 and that of which could be stored in living plants respectively.

The company, therefore, calls on CPG companies to display on packaging the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere to demonstrate a positive impact on climate change.

Certification requirements and Processes

in the beginning, raw ingredients like crops are grown in the soil, and they are allowed to absorb and store carbon from the atmospheric surrounding and into the ground. The Soil Carbon Project Label will then display the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil during the crop season in pounds.

The records are validated through another EarthOptics Technology called the ‘Cutting-edge’ that combines on-field sensors, baseline soil core samples, patented ML to bring unmatched accuracy to soil-property measurements and analysis. 

EarthOptics uses ground-penetrating sensors on its GroundOwlTM tool to scan the soil structure of a field. The data from these sensors feed the machine learning software C-MapperTM to provide accurate soil carbon measurements and maps that can be used to verify soil carbon content.

Accurate measurements are ensured through regular sample verifications used as training data for the EarthOptics ML software.

The GroundOwl sensor suite is mounted to a UTV or tractor, which uses electromagnetic imaging and ground-penetrating radar derived from DARPA and MIT technology sources to scan the soil. The sensor collects the data every time the farmer runs the sensor over the field.

The provisions and outcomes of the project

The incentive programme launched by EarthOptics enables the consumers to reward food producers with premium pricing and contributes to increasing awareness regarding soil carbon sequestration that accounts for one of the most crucial and significant considerations in a product that is made on climate-smart terms.

The programme will also enable the producers to participate in the Carbon Credit Marketplace and ensure that economic vitality is realised through climate-smart agricultural practices. 

The intelligence of the advanced technology of ML, EarthOptics has been able to reduce by 70% the number of soil core samples that helps farmers save cost. To further lower the cost and complexity of soil carbon measurements, the company has partnered with Virginia Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina State University, and Arkansas.

The partnership is probable in bringing out quite a noticeable improvement in the ability of their MRV technology.

How is the change driven?

 CO2 is one of the most significant greenhouse gases and is present in a considerable atmosphere. Reduction in atmospheric CO2 is critical to mitigating climate change. According to scientists, farm soil can sequester more than a billion tons of additional carbon each year.

The 3D mapping results help farmers verify and accurately measure the amount of CO2 and report the carbon content of their soils.

The picturesque representation provides twin benefits of enabling consumers to purchase climate-smart products that are verified to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere and, secondly, help companies monitor and reduce CGH emissions.

The Till-Mapper Software is another excellent software ideally suited for farmers to help them make informed decisions about when, where and how deeply to apply tillage concerning the 3-dimensional view of the soil compaction generated by the same software.

More initiatives are undertaken in the same direction to facilitate an even better and more eco-friendly environment where farmers can drive intelligent agricultural practices and lead continued efforts toward climate change mitigation.

In addition, the EarthOptics engineering and research teams are developing capabilities to measure and map more soil properties, including nutrient and moisture content, to enhance the usage of less harmful products and, therefore, help sustainably shape the future of the earth.

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