World-leading geospatial data analytics company Rezatec has announced a follow-on investment to its 2018 £2m Seed Round equity financing round, with Harbert European Growth Capital now providing a substantial growth debt facility to the Company. This new facility will lend … Continue Reading
Business-led consortium addresses biomass ‘carbon impact’ issue
Biomass and bioenergy firms required to certify the origin and sustainability of wood biomass will now have access to more accurate data to support certification thanks to a new project involving Rezatec, a UK-based provider of remote-sensing based environmental data products.
Rezatec has developed a data service that extracts carbon estimates from high-resolution satellite imagery, or Earth Observation (EO) data. This service is designed to accurately measure the carbon impact of producing biomass from forests over extended periods of time.
A business-led consortium involving Rezatec, Drax, E4tech (project lead), and the University of Edinburgh has embarked on a nine-month project to help develop a service that will improve the commercial development of the biomass/energy industry, allowing businesses to prove compliance with sustainability criteria.
Forest carbon estimates
The project will assess the environmental impact of Drax’s wood pellet production from forest feedstock in North America. Using Rezatec’s methodology, optical, RADAR and LiDAR data will be linked with a dynamic tree growth model to help determine forestry carbon estimates.
Patrick Newton, CEO for Rezatec commented: “This pioneering project has the potential to change the future of the biomass and bioenergy industries by overcoming the challenges of obtaining cost-effective and accurate datasets to support sustainable obligations linked to forest biomass feedstock.”
“Working with businesses such as Drax allows us to help verify its carbon impact on the environment of biomass extraction and the positive work it is undertaking to ensure compliance. “This project can be used as a blueprint for sustainable biomass production around the world,” he added.
Nigel Burdett, Head of Environment for Drax said: “Drax Power will only purchase biomass that can be proven to be sustainably produced in accordance with our sustainability policy, and that exceeds thresholds set by the UK Regulatory Authority (Ofgem) for subsidy support.”
“We’re aiming to be the benchmark for knowledge around determining the temporal carbon flow consequences of biomass for energy. This will allow us to contribute positively towards a more ecologically sound environment as well as deliver on energy output requirements,” he continued.
“The use of environmental datasets, which includes accurate, high-resolution, time-based satellite imagery, helps address a specific business issue in the energy sector. As part of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climage Change Renewables Obligation, Drax is required to report on key aspects of biomass supply chains, to ensure reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate sustainability.”
Dr Ausilio Bauen, Director of E4tech commented: “E4tech initiated this project as we believe Earth Observation data will be important in determining and monitoring the sustainability of biomass for energy.”
“Together with Rezatec, Drax and the University of Edinburgh we are developing a service that will be critical to the biomass industry in demonstrating its environmental credentials and possibly other sectors”, he added.
Glocal project deploys earth observation (EO) technologies to map natural resources and land use on Balearic island
Rezatec, a provider of satellite based environmental data products and services, has been helping Ecover, the global manufacturer and seller of green cleaning products, with their Glocal project in Mallorca to experiment with a new business model and learn about the potential of the bio-economy.
Ecover is running Glocal in partnership with sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, the University of Barcelona, Daniel Wahl and other stakeholders on Mallorca. The first phase is to explore the local production of cleaning products using only waste derived from locally available agricultural activity.
A key first step is to understand what is grown and in what abundance on the island. Rezatec is helping to achieve this by providing detailed land use maps to determine where different crops, such as citrus plantations and olive groves, can be found on the island using high-resolution EO data, obtained from satellite imagery and calibrated with other data sets available including ground-based observations. The data can then be analysed to identify the amount of cultivated land, the variety of crops, their density and, longer-term, the suitability of potential sites for production based on the appropriateness of natural waste sources for the manufacturing of cleaning products or other bio-materials.
Project data support
The Satellite Applications Catapult, an independent innovation technology company that also forms part Oxfordshire’s Harwell Space Cluster, will provide additional support by storing, processing and managing Rezatec’s project data at its Climate, Environment and Monitoring from Space (CEMS) facility. This purpose-built facility offers space-based climate change and EO data and services.
Philip Briscoe, Marketing Director, Rezatec said: “In effect what we’re doing in Mallorca is mapping its bio-economy using earth observation technologies. This has huge potential benefits for much larger ecosystems. In fact, a project such as this could be applied to a whole country. Our techniques help us to understand agricultural waste streams. This can help identify where waste can be transformed and used to create new products, which has the potential to benefit whole industries, livelihoods and wider economies.”
Tom Domen, Long Term Innovation Manager, Ecover said: “Glocal is helping us envision a model in which Ecover goes beyond producing and distributing globally to become a knowledge centre and a catalyst for local production and local businesses”.
Hugh Knowles, Principal Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future said: “When faced with an uncertain future and a range of complex challenges the most resilient businesses will be those that are willing to innovate and pilot radically different approaches…this way we can learn what a sustainable future might look like.”
The land use mapping techniques used by Rezatec in this project can also be applied at a regional and national level to create longer-term sustainable bio-economies.