Carbon Link senior scientist Thakur Bhattarai and general manager Chris McCosker with the soil condition analysis scanner developed in Gladstone. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Carbon Link senior scientist Thakur Bhattarai and general manager Chris McCosker with the soil condition analysis scanner developed in Gladstone. Picture: Rodney Stevens

World leading carbon tech delevoped in Gladstone shed

WORLD leading carbon soil sampling technology has been developed in a Gladstone shed, which could have enormous implications for the future of global agriculture.

The technology, due to begin its first commercial pilots next month, could slow the greenhouse process and provide huge increases in global agricultural production.

“The problem is that traditional measurement techniques and methods are expensive, and they are not very accurate,” Gladstone based Carbon Link general manager Chris McCosker said.

The premise of Carbon Link is to support farmers to earn income by improving their soil.

Developed by Carbon Link since 2016, the soil condition analysis scanner takes readings of 1200mm long core samples of agricultural soil every 50mm, measuring carbon levels and photographing the samples.

Currently farmers get carbon credits from the government for sequestering carbon in the soil, Mr McCosker said, with soils containing three times as much carbon than in the atmosphere.

“Farmers implement a practice change that increases the carbon in their soils and they get credits for that,” he said.

Mr McCosker said the technology was initially developed by the CSIRO, but vastly enhanced by Carbon Link to provide more accurate, cheaper measurements.

“Australia is leading the world in having a soil carbon methodology,” he said.

“Carbon Link has a licensing and research agreement with CSIRO to develop and commercialise that technology,” he said.

“It involves using spectral analysis or spectral modelling to measure the soil carbon, and that gives us a cheaper and more accurate compared to the traditional techniques.

The benefits for agriculture that couldflow from Carbon Link’s technology are massive.

“Increasing the carbon in your soil increases the soil health,” Mr McCosker said.

“It increases the soil productivity and resilience, so it increases the water storage capacity of soils, so it is good for agriculture.

“So it sequesters carbon out of the atmosphere (which slows down the greenhouse process).”

Working hand-in-hand with the CSIRO, Mr McCosker employs scientists to assist with the analysis processes.

The project has also caught the attention of the Mulloon Institute for Environment, Farming and Society’s chairman Gary Nairn.

The Mullon Institute actively regenerates landscapes and both demonstrates and shares regenerative methods of land management.

It uses its research results and education tools to create sustainable, resilient landscapes, to help provide Australia with long-term water and food security, and to create a model adaptable to other countries.