ESMC Technical Contractor Dagan Inc Receives $1.8M to Develop Cost-Effective Measurement Systems for Field-Level GHG

September 18, 2020

Falls Church, VA

Dagan Inc, along with Argonne National Lab, Veris Technologies, and ESMC Legacy Partner member ARVA Intelligence received a $1.8 million grant from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program to develop the systems and models necessary to cost effectively quantify soil carbon and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions at field scales.

Agriculture is both a source and a sink of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting 9.9% of US GHG emissions in 2018. GHG emissions from U.S. agriculture have increased by 10.1% since 1990—and a key driver is a 7% increase in N2O during that period. A big piece of agricultural N2O emissions is from fertilizer application on sols. Since N2O is such a potent GHG, with 300 times the potency of carbon dioxide, reducing N2O emissions is a crucial strategy for overall GHG reductions in agriculture. However, accurately measuring and monitoring N2O emissions on agricultural land at the field scale is both labor- and cost-prohibitive. Less costly approaches that reduce the uncertainty of estimates, are critical for increasing compensation to farmers and ranchers for their efforts to reduce GHG emissions and increase soil carbon sequestration.

To address these challenges, Dagan Inc is working with partners to build, validate, and demonstrate a system for reliable and cost-effective measurement of field-level soil carbon and nitrous oxide emissions.

“Dagan is excited to work with our project partners and the ARPA-E SMARTFARM program to further advance measurement, modeling, and remote sensing technologies to improve quantification and verification of production systems that enhance soil carbon and reduce GHG emissions. This research will lead to not only improvements in quantification and verification, but also a reduction in the costs for scalable ecosystem markets that directly benefit farmers and improve public good through climate change mitigation”, said Bill Salas, CEO Dagan Inc.

For ESMC’s market, the research will enable N2O emission quantification and credit generation at a price point that adds value to the producer (seller) by allowing more value to flow to farmers and ranchers, since quantification costs will be lower. ESMC’s Executive Director Debbie Reed noted that “this is exciting work that will help make more money from ecosystem services markets flow directly into farmers’ and ranchers’ pockets. Also, increased rigor of quantification benefits the entire system, particularly buyers and investors interested in transparent, credible accounting of changes in GHG.”

Salas emphasized that “Dagan is fortunate to be working closely with ESMC staff and consortium members on research funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and Consortium Members to improve and pilot the use of the DNDC model and OpTIS remote sensing platform to advance a measurement, reporting, and verification system for ESMC.”