Downforce brings hi-tech soil solution to Australia
Enhanced monitoring to improve soil carbon
UK-based Downforce Technologies Limited has developed an innovative technology solution to cut the cost of measuring and monitoring soil health and carbon levels – a key component in cutting land-based emissions. The company is taking the next step in developing and commercialising its data-based technology, with Australia identified as the first market, reflecting the uniquely favourable potential of Australian soils to play a role in soil carbon capture.
validation for Australian 1st
We are delighted to have the support of the CEFC and all our investors as we look to grow and scale our ground-breaking platform. Using data and insights from Downforce, landowners and institutions can optimise their decision-making and investments, confidently and efficiently measuring the benefits as they build natural capital and revenues.Josephine WapakabuloDownforce CEO
The Downforce methodology fuses a broad range of data sources to be able to measure soil carbon at very high levels of accuracy to the nearest 10m2. The platform can provide analysis of the current state of the land, its recent history and soil carbon potential.
The $1.6 million CEFC investment will enable UK-based Downforce Technologies Limited to take the next step in developing and commercialising its data-based technology, with Australia identified as the first market, reflecting the uniquely favourable potential of Australian soils to play a role in soil carbon capture.
Soil organic carbon has a vital role to play in reducing carbon emissions in Australia’s agricultural sector – with the potential for an estimated 541 million tonnes of carbon to be sequestered in Australia’s soil, equivalent to 18 years of annual CO2 emissions from the agricultural sector.
Putting the best data and technology in the hands of farmers, financial institutions, the food industry and policy-makers is essential to realising this potential.
However traditional soil carbon measurement can be laborious, expensive and capture a minimal sample size over what can be large and varied landscapes. While digital soil mapping presents the opportunity to be more scalable, it can often lack adequate accuracy. The first Downforce product can measure soil organic carbon with extremely high levels of accuracy, without the need to go to site.
Investor interest in the technology enabled the company to close a $3.0 million (£1.6 million) seed capital raise, so it can continue the development and growth of its globally scalable data services platform.
In June 2022, the Downforce Technologies approach to measuring soil organic carbon was independently validated by the Chief and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Professor Jules Pretty.
Professor Pretty, who is also Professor of Environment and Society at the UK University of Essex, described the Downforce Technologies as a ‘novel and highly effective platform’.
In his review, Professor Pretty also noted that:
- Agricultural soils had lost 25-75 per cent of their carbon stocks compared with natural or undisturbed neighbouring soils
- Carbon capture in soils and above ground biomass had the potential to make a substantial contribution in the race to net zero emissions
- New approaches to sustainable and regenerative agriculture had shown that carbon could be captured above and below ground in ways that contributed to food production and a range of additional ecosystem services, particularly carbon, landscape biodiversity and water holding capacity.
Australia’s unique landscape and keen interest in soil carbon sequestration makes it the ideal first market for Downforce to target with its innovative technology. The technology is an important step in dramatically reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement and significantly expanding the volume of both carbon data and analytics available across Australia.
Soil carbon sequestration is a key objective under the Australia Government National Soil Strategy and prioritised under the Low Emissions Technology Statement with the target of reducing the soil carbon measurement price from approximately $30 to less than $3 per hectare per year.