In Innovation Spotlight, we explore some of the most promising innovations from around our community. This week, we take a look at EIT Climate-KIC supported Ombrea—a crop shading system to regulate temperature, protect soil, save water and thus increase yields otherwise reduced by climate change.
Family farmers produce about 80 per cent of the world’s food, but farmers’ fields are increasingly exposed to extreme weather conditions linked to climate change. Events such as hail, frost, flooding, drought and heatwaves are unpredictable and can jeopardise crop yields. Farmers face a very real risk of losing everything they’ve worked for, sometimes overnight.
And, as crop conditions worsen, population increases. To feed another two billion people in 2050, food production will need to increase by 50 per cent globally.
Ombrea anticipates and mitigates climate risk through an innovative system of physical protection coupled with software intelligence, and therefore adapts agricultural production to climate change without the invasiveness of changing the crop’s genetics.
Once installed, sensors on each plot identify key weather information, such as humidity and temperature. Ombrea’s software controls the shades, opening and closing to create optimal light conditions, generating the perfect micro-climate, protecting crops from weather extremes, as well as monitoring and responding to plant health. The farmer has access to all this information on their mobile phone.
Julie Davico-Pahin, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Ombrea said –
“Ombrea is a turnkey climate control tool, adapted to crops that are sensitive to weather hazards. Installed over a field, the system of intelligent shades protects plants and ensures their development, despite the effects of climate change. Ombrea is automated and adapts to each crop using artificial intelligence.”
Ombrea attended stage one and two of EIT Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme and is currently applying for stage three. The start-up has been selected for the final of Cleantech Open France, which will take place on 17 September 2018 in Paris. It has also recently been named the winner of the In Vivo Southern Innovation Competition.