Celebrating the Innovators: The Environmental Space Living Lab Competition Winners Announcement

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We are excited to announce the winners of the Environmental Space Living Lab (ESLL) competition: Revolutionising water quality and resource efficiency in Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Environmental Land Management with Space Technology!

Announced during the ESLL event launch at Petroc back in September 2023, the competition gained a great number of responses over three months, attracting a multitude of submissions from diverse companies specialising in agri-tech. Today, we’re delighted to announce that two outstanding companies have been selected, each to receive support of up to £15,000.

Both winners demonstrate innovation, addressing environmental challenges with groundbreaking technology and real-world solutions. ESLL acknowledges their potential impact on agriculture and environmental management, while recognising the support needed for their continued success.

Winner number 1 is Freeup Ltd

The first winner of the ESLL Competition, has redefined the landscape of environmental monitoring through its cutting-edge approach. Specialising in the creation of low-cost sensors tailored for water bodies, the company’s sensors serve as a game-changer, providing a wealth of data that encompasses broader catchment areas. This novel technology allows for the acquisition of extensive yet specific data, enabling informed decision-making in real time.

At the core of FreeUP Ltd’s innovation lies its low-cost sensors and intuitive dashboard, a sophisticated platform that seamlessly collects and integrates multiple data sources, including Earth Observation (EO) and weather data. This fusion empowers stakeholders, ranging from landowners and utilities to farmers, with the ability to forecast based on historical data while concurrently monitoring water quality in real time. The significance of this technology extends beyond the mere provision of data; it equips those managing water bodies with the tools necessary to make proactive, data-driven decisions, fostering a more sustainable approach to environmental management.

The impact of ESLL on FreeUP Ltd’s trajectory holds fantastic promise and the tailored support from ESLL aligns seamlessly with the company’s growth. The potential areas of collaboration span EO, commercial strategy, stakeholder introductions and showcases, access to cutting-edge sensors and real-world test areas, as well as robust data analysis tools.

FreeUP Ltd’s commitment to innovation and its alignment with ESLL’s mission emphasises the company’s pivotal role in shaping the future of environmental technology.

Tom McNamara, the Founder and Director of FreeUp commented:

“We’re delighted to win this award and to have the opportunity to enhance our Smart Catchment approach. This input will further us in our mission to equip users with all they need to manage entire catchments in real-time and for this approach to be as accessible as possible to all.”

Winner number 2 is CSEQ Technologies ltd

The second winner of the ESLL Competition introduces a groundbreaking solution for agriculture: an automated sprayer control system designed to minimise run-off and pollution. Designed by a farmer for farmers: this innovative technology targets tractors, preventing overuse of chemicals by automating the spraying process. Unlike existing automated systems that attach to steering wheels, CSEQ’s solution integrates with the tractor’s hydraulics, ensuring unobtrusive functionality. Moreover, it boasts affordability, priced five times lower than its closest competitors.

The system specifically caters to the substantial market segment of farmers managing land areas ranging from 10 to 100 hectares, encompassing approximately 150,000 users in the UK alone. While the product is user-friendly, CSEQ acknowledges the need for safety and reliability reviews, especially considering its application on large road-going machinery. The system’s impact is tangible: it ensures precise usage of pesticides and fertilisers, eliminating overlaps and significantly reducing environmental damage. Despite positive user feedback, CSEQ Technologies acknowledges the necessity for expert input to refine the final design, ensuring safety and reliability compliance.

The company’s journey showcases its innovation and commitment to solving real-world problems within the agricultural sector. ESLL’s support areas, including commercial guidance, design improvement, user testing, and stakeholder engagement, perfectly aligning with CSEQ’s growth strategy.

We are extremely excited to welcome both Freeup Ltd and CSEQ Technologies Ltd on board. Their innovative solutions exemplify a transformative approach to environmental challenges and agriculture. As ESLL continues its collaborative journey with these innovative companies, we anticipate significant advancements in environmental technology and agricultural innovation that will leave a lasting, positive impact on our world.

Charles Quick, the Founder and Director of CSEQ Technologies commented:

“We are delighted to have won the competition, and we really look forward to working with the ESLL to take our innovation from prototype to a safe, tested product that can make a huge difference, not only to water quality and the environment at large; but also enabling smaller farmers and growers to reap the benefits afforded by precision systems that were previously out of reach for all but the largest farms”

About the ESLL

Real-world test environments, engaged communities, and technical expertise

The Environmental Space Living Lab unites space, market and tech experts with policy makers, academia and end users. This collaborative space enables the exploration and analysis of challenges, co-designing and testing innovative scalable solutions, and accelerating their commercialisation. By doing so, it drives business growth while generating long-term social and environmental impacts.

ESLL is co-funded by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the Environmental Space Living Lab operates across three physical locations – Petroc in North Devon, Bicton College in East Devon and Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset. The Lab leverages resources from the Satellite Applications Catapult, University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, North Devon Biosphere and the Devon and Somerset County Councils.

Find out more here https://sa.catapult.org.uk/environmental-space-living-lab/