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New study aims to boost carbon capture via cropping

A new research initiative seeks to assist farmers and producers in the UK in achieving Net Zero and enhancing crop resilience.

The £5.9 million Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3) will focus on four cropping options, and evaluate their potential to enhance atmospheric carbon capture and storage in the soil and crop-based products. 


Further work will help boost the production and use of renewable biomaterials for fibre, textiles, and construction. 


As part of a consortium of 22 industry and research partners, experts at the University of York’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), will focus on the development and uptake of industrial hemp as a multi-purpose crop, in partnership with Elsoms Seeds. 


Workshops


The University’s Biorenewables Development Centre will conduct value-chain validation and tools-development, roadmaps and dissemination tools to be shared in multiple-stakeholder workshops.  


Professor Ian Graham, Academic Director of BioYorkshire, said: “I am excited at this opportunity to build on existing specialist know-how and genetic resources in my laboratory to fast-track the development and adoption of new varieties that increase carbon capture and bio-based feedstocks for industry across the UK.”



The Centre’s ‘Knowledge Hub’ will provide resources to support the effective uptake and utilisation of crops with high carbon-capture potential, with practical outputs such as crop guides, web tools and apps available to landowners, farmers and agronomists. 


Demonstrations


The project will offer opportunities for its stakeholders to engage with and participate in the ongoing research, including crop trials, field demonstrations, webinars, workshops and training.


Helen Shiels, Business Innovation Manager at the BDC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to map the economic, environmental and social value of these cropping systems, and establish the real value they can bring to farmers and the manufacturers of low carbon products, in construction, textiles and bio-composite materials.”


The project, led by the National Institute Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Cambridge, has been awarded funding by Defra under the Farming Futures Fund: Climate Smart Farming - part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.


It builds on the BioYorkshire initiative, which aims to develop sustainable solutions for some of the UK’s most pressing environmental challenges, and boost the regional economy through the creation of jobs as part of a new green agenda.


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