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.