What it does
Climate Edge develops agricultural weather stations to identify what conditions are harming yield and quality most. Our services allow smallholder coffee farmers to keep track of these conditions and take actions to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Climate Change is devastating tropical agriculture and some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals. Therefore, funding is poured into developing powerful solutions to help farmers adapt. However, the high cost of delivering these solutions means that few farmers ever receive them. Climate Edge recognises this and has created a system to allow knowledge to flow from service providers to the millions of farmers who need it. Our weather stations captures the raw information and our analytical software allows farmers to grow a profitable business, organisations to manage their supply chains securely and insurers to make accurate payouts.
How it works
Our weather station monitors conditions on-farm and our analytical software takes this data, analyses it and turns it into actionable information. The weather station is designed specifically for Tropical Agriculture. It is $120 (1/20 of the price of our competitors), user friendly and remote data transfer comes as standard. By measuring air temperature, soil temperature, air humidity and precipitation we can monitor the key conditions determining yield and quality. The software takes this raw data, analyses it and provides farmers and their cooperatives, with actionable, tailored information so they can implement the right solutions. Using this base we also provide significant value to other sectors. Our climate data enables micro-insurers to make accurate payouts, our farm management data gives micro-financers the ability to identify reliable investments and the two combined provide the information needed to manage supply chains securely.
When co-founders James and Paul went to Honduras to conduct research for their Master thesis, they had to go through a tedious process of manual data collection on coffee farms. Disappointed by the lack of suitable and affordable ways for automatic data collection, they set out to create their own. An electrical engineer planned the electronic specifications and Gabriel joined the team to design and build the device. This first version was hacked from commercially available parts (a lunchbox housed the protoboard electronics), custom 3d printed and cast resin components. Set up for several months on farms in Nicaragua in mid 2016, this successful proof of concept taught us a lot about further design considerations and commenced an iterative process. We’ve come far since this MVP, moving towards manufacturable components. A PCB replaced the arduino based protoboard and is housed in an injection mouldable box with the wires fed in using IP68 rated connectors. We moved from the 3d printed weather screen to vacuum formed, UV stable HIPS parts, using water repellent fabric to protect the sensors. We’ve also developed a patentable way to measure precipitation with no moving parts and we are working towards a modular design that allows the integration of more sensors.
How it is different
Our weather station is designed and iterated based on extensive user testing, leading to a number of innovations. The station can be tailored to the needs of different crops and quickly moved between plots. The base sensor list can easily be augmented using off the shelf sensors (from soil moisture to leaf wetness). The device is plug and play; unlike any other system it simply requires turning on to begin sending data. We measure rain with a patentable , no-moving parts sensor set-up. It is visually distinct and made using cheap, yet scalable, manufacturing methods. The software excels in presenting this data in an engaging and easy to understand format. With our scientific partnerships we are building unique algorithms to process this data. Finally, our business model is unique. We leverage existing networks of cooperatives to distribute and service our equipment. The device is provided for free and revenue generated on a subscription basis.
Climate Edge sees a world where information flows freely and everyone has access to the tools needed to build a stable business. We will create the world’s largest knowledge platform, where information flows seamlessly from lab to farm and back again. Where all farmers can access insurance and finance. Where organisations connect with their farmers and work together towards productivity and stability. We have set three goals for the next two months. First, use smart design to further reduce the build cost. Second, incorporate leaf wetness and soil moisture sensors. Third, streamline installation of the weather station to just three steps.
National finalists in Chivas Regal Ventures, international finalist in Thought For Food challenge, 2nd place in Imperial’s Programm/able, boost grant recipients from Imperial College Hackspace. Co-founders James and Paul were named Young Development Agriculturalists of the year by the Tropical Agriculture Association.