Oxford company develops satellite data system to help businesses manage land assets more effectively with funding support from Innovate UK.
Corporate responsibility is a top priority for any company with a global supply chain. But keeping track of resources on an international scale is no easy task.
Philip Briscoe is the marketing director of a start-up software company called Rezatec that aims to make the creation of sustainable supply chains much simpler for companies.
In 2012, the company received an Innovation Voucher grant of £8,000 from Innovate UK to bring in the expert technical skills it needed to develop an innovative satellite data tool.
“We’ve spent a lot of time developing the technology and putting in place a platform that allows us to take satellite data, ground data or other data sets and work out how to apply different scientific models and analyses to deliver commercial derivatives,” said Philip.
Rezatec is now based at Innovate UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult centre in Oxfordshire, at the centre of UK space technology.
The company is already winning awards, such as the 2013 Climate-KIC award for its innovation in green technology.
Using satellite data from NASA and from the Climate and Environmental Monitoring from Space facility (CEMS) in the UK, Rezatec has created a database of 12 years of global satellite data that is refreshed every 8 days.
With it users can track how and whether land use has changed, at a much lower cost than was previously possible.
Rezatec has now launched two of its Earth Information products, which offer a global deforestation monitoring service and global carbon forest stock values.
“[The technology is] great for monitoring deforestation. We can look at an area over time and see what has happened,” said Philip.
With its expertise in monitoring deforestation, Rezatec is well placed to lead in the carbon credits market.
Governments are trying to incentivise developing countries to stop cutting down forests by giving those forests a value in carbon credits.
These are part of a worldwide strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases. They are expected to make up the largest commodity market in the world as polluters seek to offset their emissions with carbon credits.
Rezatec’s technology provides an effective way to measure how much carbon is out there, which is hard to do in person over large areas on a regular basis.
“[We] can scale up the information provided by the people on the ground to cut the cost of carbon stock assessment by 80% to $100 per square kilometre from $500 per square kilometre,” said Philip.
“It’s more affordable and more accessible so it releases more carbon credits on to the market.”
Measuring carbon stocks is not the only application for Rezatec’s software. Insurance companies are also potential customers says Philip:
“If they are looking at insuring areas of land and forests, they need to understand the risks of fire, pest and disease.
“Rezatec aims to provide historic fire risk maps. It can also help insurers determine the point at which a disease started. They don’t want the landowner to spot it first and take out a policy after it has already started,” said Philip.
Innovate UK’s support in placing Rezatec at the cutting edge of space technology development has been integral to the company’s development.
Working in an emerging market, is never easy but the Catapult has given Rezatec the resources and support to succeed.
“Working with Catapult really helps us in educating the market. It’s great to have their support,” said Philip.
“It wouldn’t have happened without Innovate UK… They’ve played an integral role in our development, right down to the office space.”