The same technology used for satellites can monitor both lands and seafloors, helping adaptation and mitigation practices against climate change.
Vultus and PlanBlue are two of the nine climate ventures selected by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Climate KIC to receive €4 million, as part of the EIT Crisis Response Initiative, with the aim to help start-ups recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. To choose who deserved the grant, EIT Climate-KIC took into consideration the potential reduction of greenhouse gases emissions made possible by each innovation.
“Our entrepreneurship community has been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, be it through last-minute investment cancellations, losing customers, global supply chains being interrupted or even just distraction from prioritizing the climate emergency in the face of immediate economic crisis,” said CEO of EIT Climate-KIC, Kirsten Dunlop. “Our team has selected ventures that will significantly contribute to building back better – maximizing the opportunity to accelerate decarbonization and introduce sustainable solutions – and ventures that can achieve significant milestones in crisis prevention and resilience given the likelihood of further shocks.”
Vultus and PlanBlue are going to receive €500,000 each to further develop their technologies – both inspired by satellites.
A Swedish company that eliminates waste in farming by offering satellite-based prescriptions, Vultus can reduce nitrogen, fungicide and water usage by up to 30%. At the same time, growers can achieve higher yields, by applying the right amount of fertilizers across the field.
As a result, much nitrogen gets taken up by the crop, which reduces emissions of nitrous oxide from the soil and eliminates about 149kg of CO2 per hectare. Furthermore, by reducing the amount of nitrogen, which is particularly energy intensive, emissions associated with production, storage and transport are also reduced.
“Satellites play a key role in proving scalable, globally comparable and cost-effective measurements about individual farmlands, and farming as a whole,” Robert Schmitt, founder and CEO at Vultus, says. “This data can be used by growers to better address irregular climate conditions. More precise and effective use of land and agricultural inputs, also creates a more robust food production system, which has more options and spare capacity in dealing with adverse climate events.”
PlanBlue, based in Germany, monitors the effects of climate change, biodiversity and plastic waste pollution, enabling sustainable industrial activities on and near seafloor areas, lake bottoms and river beds.
The sea floor is the key to understanding the health status of our oceans. It is connected to all the ocean’s food cycles and a very important sequester for atmospheric carbon, and it can be up to 35 times more efficient in capturing greenhouse gases than land-based forests.
Biodiversity is also crucial, because a diverse sea floor is often a strong sea floor, which is needed for coastal protection. A healthy coastline providing a stronger 3D structure decreases the impacts of storm surges.
“Since the underwater world is not easy to access, it is difficult for decision makers to understand the impacts and changes to our ocean’s ecosystems and yet many decisions made on land have a great effect on the seafloor,” Joost den Haan, PlanBlue’s co-founder and CEO, says. “Our technology allows us to visualize what lies beneath the surface, making it understandable and accessible, so we can make the right political decisions for coastal management and climate legislation for example.”