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CHCx3 – Research project

Terravesta is helping to establish a common framework for measuring atmospheric carbon removal and storage on farms via diversified cropping.

At the present time there is a lack of understanding on how and where soil carbon is evaluated or to whom the benefit or detriment of that carbon or carbon flux accrues. Resolving this is fundamental to driving both the industrial, economic and societal changes necessary to deliver the new, non-exploitative path necessary for humankind and the future of life on our planet. The aim of the project is to develop a standardised approach to quantifying carbon sequestration in soils and crop-based plant products. By growing input-efficient biomass crops that enhance carbon sequestration, UK farmers will achieve net-zero emissions while building resilience in agriculture. By diversifying arable and forage crops, this initiative not only contributes to climate change mitigation, but also opens up opportunities for new income streams through participation in the carbon market.

Full project title

The Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping

Project focus

  • Carbon capture analysis Evaluate food, forage, and industrial cropping options with potential to enhance atmospheric carbon capture, and sequestration in the soil and crop-based products.
  • Production optimisation Improve production of renewable biomaterials for fibre, textiles, and construction, and build value chains.
  • Evidence-based knowledge Establish a UK Knowledge Hub providing resources to support effective uptake and utilisation of crops with high carbon capture potential.
  • Developing a common framework Quantify carbon removals, consistent with emerging standards for measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification.
  • Making it accessible for farmers Develop carbon insetting/offsetting platforms, achieving revenue generation for farmers and supporting corporate sustainability.

Project duration

Four years, running from 1 Jan 2023 to 1 Jan 2027

Sponsor

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under the Farming Futures R&D Fund: Climate Smart Farming.

Partners

The CHCx3 project is led by NIAB with Terravesta as a work package lead and involves a variety of partners: Biorenewables Development Centre, British Hemp Alliance, Cotswold Seeds, Crops for Energy, Elsoms Seeds, Energy Crops Consultancy, English Fine Cottons, FarmED, F C Palmer & Sons, National Farmers Union of England & Wales (NFU), Natural Building Systems, Northern Ireland Hemp Association, Rothamsted Research, UK Hempcrete, University of York and Unyte Hemp.

Project valued at

£ 5.9 million

Project summary

The project aims to help UK farmers and growers target net zero and build farming resilience through diversifying their arable and forage cropping. It’s ground-breaking in the sense it will come up with a new standard for on farm carbon management by testing hard physical field measurements from a range of crops. 

The research will focus on four cropping options: rotational cover crops; annual fibre crops (industrial hemp and flax); perennial food, forage and feed crops (including cereals and herbal leys); and perennial biomass crops (Miscanthus, willow and poplar).

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

It will culminate in the creation of a ‘knowledge hub’ platform to help for farmers to make informed decisions about what they grow on their land. The 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.