The James Hutton Institute, an independent research organization, has launched the Climate Innovation Hub at Glensaugh, a remote Scottish hill farm.
The hub aims to provide a proving ground for farmers and land managers to test and develop new climate technologies. It offers technology developers access to the institute’s 1,000 ha research farm, including offices, conference facilities, and laboratories. The hub has already welcomed its first tenant, carbon capture start-up UNDO, which is trialling a technology that aims to enrich soil and help sequester large volumes of carbon dioxide by spreading crushed basalt rock onto agricultural land. The hub is funded by the Macaulay Development Trust (MDT), a charity that supports research into sustainable use of land and natural resources.
The Climate Innovation Hub is the latest project to come out of the Hutton’s Climate-Positive Farming Initiative at the Glensaugh research farm. Other projects include HydroGlen, which will see this farming community become energy self-sufficient using renewable energy and green hydrogen. The initiative also includes woodland planting, peatland restoration, natural flood management, managing farmland for multiple benefits, and more.
Reducing emissions in the farming and wider land management sector is a real challenge across Scotland, where agriculture is responsible for about 19% of the country’s emissions. The Climate Innovation Hub aims to enable innovation to tackle the problem. Antonia Boyce, manager of the Climate Innovation Hub, said that it’s not easy for innovators to test their ideas or collaborate with others working in the same space. Therefore, the hub invites companies or individuals with great ideas they want to test out to get in touch.
In partnership with CENSIS, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging and Internet of Things, the hub will also be home to another cutting-edge new initiative, the Centre for Smart Natural Capital. This should provide a unique platform for the development of smart sensing, monitoring, and advanced analytics needed to inform the growing field of natural capital.
Jez Wardman, agronomist at UNDO, commented that having the facilities and trial site at the Climate Innovation Hub at Glensaugh gives them the capability to scale their climate technology globally, underpinned by fundamental science and with the support of the Hutton’s experts. Franceska van Dijk, chair of the MDT, stated that land and nature-based climate stewardship is fundamentally important in the transition to a more sustainable economy. The Macaulay Development Trust is delighted that its investment is already supporting pioneering, practical research at Glensaugh to showcase rural innovation to tackle the climate challenge.
Professor Alison Hester, who leads the Hutton’s Climate-Positive Farming Initiative, added that the Climate Innovation Hub is an exciting new addition to their growing portfolio of activities within the Climate-Positive Farming Initiative. It will facilitate ground-breaking innovations, and they are looking forward to hosting and supporting these new ventures.
In conclusion, the Climate Innovation Hub at Glensaugh offers a unique platform for technology developers to test and develop new climate technologies. It aims to reduce emissions in the farming and wider land management sector, which is a real challenge across Scotland. The hub invites companies or individuals with great ideas they want to test out to get in touch. The Macaulay Development Trust funds the hub, and it is the latest project to come out of the Hutton’s Climate-Positive Farming Initiative at the Glensaugh research farm.