Seanasol is a registered trademark in the United Kingdom, which stands for “scientific, engineering and agricultural solutions”. It is a not-for-profit research initiative aiming to develop innovative sustainable solutions for smart, precision agriculture in urban farming and space applications. While current plans are to contribute to agriculture, our technology can be applied in human expansion projects such that crops can be grown in space.
Our future success on other planets depends whether we can grow our own food and be self-sustainable. But it is not only about producing edible crops, it’s about having the resources and technology to obtain the best quality seed for planting and growing subsequent generations. This is the key to sustaining life on other planets.
There are also benefits on Earth, mainly in harsh environments where we are not realising the full potential of the land for growing crops. In fact, about 10% of total Earth land area is used for crop production. In addition, other regions where we are not realising the potential of growing crops is in urban environments. Together, these two conditions restrict us from meeting crop yields, and in the United Kingdom alone, accounts for over 70% of land area not being arable.
We want to dig into the fundamentals on why plants are so successful in different environments and how we can use this information to grow more efficiently. Our research is to help minimise the gap of resources needed to manage crop systems. We offer innovative, sustainable and equitable farming technologies that are easy to implement, thus encourage a new generation of farmers.
RESEARCH & INNOVATION
Growth substrates, such as compost or sand are expensive and heavy, and their transportation represents several logistical challenges. For example, at the peak of research activities at a plant science institution, two tons of compost may last between four to six months. While this might not be an issue in locations with good transportation links, but in remote and isolated environments lacking suitable infrastructure, the use of high-quality compost needs to be maximised. We aim to develop a nutrient-rich, lightweight growth substrate that will facilitate the growth and management of crops in remote locations, space and eventually, other planets. We have designed a concept whereby seeds can be germinated in a closed and controlled micro-environment.
The “giving every seed the best start in life” mindset aims to maximise the potential of each individual seed, in order to use seed stocks more efficiently, while maximising productivity. This concept will not only help to farm in a more sustainable way, but facilitate the mass growth of plants in screening experiments. Our goal is to develop low-cost tools that will re-strategise how farmers grow, track in real-time and maintain their crops.
In addition to our research goals, we are developing web-based services that promote communication and development of scientists worldwide. We are very interested in providing early career scientists with innovative tools that will assist their research.