AgBioEn has won best agriculture project in the 2022 iTnews Benchmark Awards for a cloud and IoT-based system designed to improve crop yields while producing more agricultural waste that can be converted into biofuels.
The Melbourne-based company is working with La Trobe University scientists and Microsoft partner Lab3 on the technology.
Data collected by sensors is sent to the Azure cloud, where University scientists take it and develop data models capable of accommodating various environmental conditions.
The company has three aims through its trials: to improve yields in grain or cob, using organic waste as fertiliser (for cleaner food production with higher yield); increase the biomass of agricultural waste such as thicker stalks that can be processed to generate energy; and increase carbon sequestered in the soil, thereby reducing carbon footprint.
An initial crop trial in a northern Victorian maize field achieved all of these aims, notably crop improvements greater than 30 percent, and more waste to generate fuel from.
AgBioEn, will now conduct further crop trials over the next three-to-four years.
The IoT devices used in the trial include probes, weather stations and drones.
Lab3’s role in the project was also recognised in the 2021 CRN Impact Awards, run by iTnews’ sister publication CRN.
AgBioEn ultimately plans to produce 150 million litres of fuel each year, and will spend around $2 billion reaching scale.
You can read more about AgBioEn’s work alongside the other winning projects and finalists here.
Winners were announced at the iTnews Benchmark Awards gala dinner held at KPMG’s Sydney Office in Barangaroo.