The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy awarded $3.25 million to the Soil Health Institute to develop an integrated soil carbon measurement and monitoring system called the DeepC System. The system will provide standardized carbon sequestration monitoring needs for agriculture carbon markets.
Established in 2013 by the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation to advance soil health and make it the cornerstone of land use management decisions, the Soil Health Institute serves to enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement.
The DeepC System includes in-field measurement tools, an optimized spatial sampling algorithm, and machine learning that leverage the current infrastructure of national soil spectroscopy libraries. Users will be able to obtain rapid measurements of soil carbon stock.
The technology will benefit farmers and ranchers by reducing the time and cost for measuring soil carbon, thereby supporting their participation in carbon markets, according to SHI Chief Scientific Officer Cristine Morgan.
"Soil probes, equipped with sensors that proximally measure both carbon concentration and bulk density of the soil as the probe is pushed into the ground, are an ideal way to measure carbon stock and change along the soil profile rapidly, nondestructively, and cost-effectively," Morgan said. "The integrated DeepC System combines sampling design, proximal sensing, and machine learning to obtain rapid, non-destructive measurements of soil carbon stock and flux."
"This is an example of how we are developing new technology that will help farmers," said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute.
Co-principal investigators include Kevin Meissner, Engineer; Yufeng Ge, Associate Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Alex McBratney, Professor, University of Sydney.