July 22, 2020

Pecan Street Inc. Launches First-of-its-Kind Soil Carbon Sequestration Research Project 

(AUSTIN, TX — July 22, 2020) Austin-based research organization, Pecan Street Inc. is drawing on its past success in advancing climate and conservation solutions to explore new methods to accelerate market development of carbon sequestration on farms.

The year-long project will investigate remote sensing technologies and methods for data integration that could accelerate widespread regenerative agriculture adoption and draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide. Pecan Street is partnering with scientists at Texas A&M University, Cornell University, Colorado State University, the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and the 4p100 Initiative.

Regenerative agriculture is the use of farming practices that result in carbon and nitrogen being stored in soils. Not only does this restore the health of soils, but it also offers an opportunity to address climate change by reducing agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions. Cropland soils are believed to hold the potential to sequester enough carbon each year to provide 10% of the world’s Paris Climate Accord emission reduction commitments.

“Regenerative agriculture could be a game changer for our food production system and for the climate,” said Pecan Street CEO Suzanne Russo. “Our goal is to identify the most effective and quickest path toward a measurable and scalable technology solution.”

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation awarded Pecan Street a $350,000 grant to lead the project. The team will evaluate open-platform innovations for soil carbon sequestration that align with the values and needs of American farmers. The project will identify new methods for enhancing existing soil assessment tools with high volumes of new sensor data and explore applications for machine learning to predict how soil management practices affect the amount of carbon stored in soils.

“We need to develop new farming practices in order to maintain profitability and food production in the face of climate change,” said Dr. Nithya Rajan of the Rajan Research Group at Texas A&M. “By helping to close the data gap around agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, this project gets us a step closer to creating the market incentives needed to encourage widespread adoption of climate smart farming practices.”

Of equal importance, the team will convene regional farmers to ensure the developed solutions represent farmers’ needs and interests. The regional convenings will result in a better understanding of how changes in farm management practices occur, how new technologies are adopted in farming communities, and what information farmers are comfortable sharing about their land on open platforms.

About the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation
The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is dedicated to improving lives globally with technology, data science and AI. The Foundation is the legacy of IDG founder Patrick J. McGovern, who believed in the potential for technology to democratize information, improve the human condition and advance social good.

About Pecan Street
Pecan Street is internationally-renowned for its pioneering research model that integrates communities, technology developers, data scientists and advocates to accelerate the pace of innovation for climate and conservation solutions. Pecan Street applies a high-impact research and development approach to areas with high potential to serve as cost-effective climate solutions that are impeded by lack of data and technology readiness.

Pecan Street provides university researchers, utilities and technology companies with access to the world’s best original data on consumer energy and water consumption behavior, testing and verification of technology solutions, and commercialization services.

Its network of over 1,200 research volunteers is the first of its kind on the planet. Its anonymized research database, the largest source of disaggregated customer energy data, is used by thousands of university researchers from universities in over 60 nations and industry-leading companies around the world.

Pecan Street is a 501(c)(3) applied research and commercialization institute. Learn more at pecanstreet.org.

Contact: Clayton Johnson, Pecan Street, cjohnson@pecanstreet.org, 512-782-9213

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