Academics at the University will work with Northallerton-based Climate Solutions Exchange Ltd (CSX) on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop an artificial intelligence system to improve peatland condition monitoring and assessment.
The project will support the fight against the climate emergency by enabling peatland owners to scale peatland restoration, and better access peatland carbon offset funding markets to increase the delivery of major carbon benefits.
Peatlands store vast quantities of carbon, ‘locking in’ an estimated 3.2 billion tonnes in the UK alone.
However, 80% of peatlands in the UK have been damaged by human intervention; primarily through drainage to allow for the grazing of animals or growing of crops and trees.
Drainage leads to decomposition of plant material and soil shrinkage which releases carbon into the air contributing to CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. Worldwide, CO2 emissions from drained peatlands are estimated annually at 1.3 gigatonnes.
Peat formations are a significant element of the higher ground surrounding Teesside, with the source of the River Tees in Upper Teesdale being surrounded by extensive peat bogs.
CSX and Teesside University are excited to have appointed Teesside University graduate Radia Chowdhury as the KTP Associate to join the CSX team at its offices in the C4DI (Centre 4 Digital Innovation) in Northallerton.
Teesside University academics Dr Annalisa Occhipinti, Associate Professor, and Dr Alessandro Di Stefano, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, will utilise their expertise in machine learning, AI, and predictive modelling to support Radia in developing an AI model to identify, measure and predict peatland conditions and identify peatlands requiring intervention.
Working with Teesside University we will create the link utilising modern technology and artificial intelligence to enable the effective protection and restoration of these vital habitats.
The project will also be supported by Dr Jawad Fayaz, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, and Professor Claudio Angione, Professor of Artificial Intelligence.
Using the developed AI model, landowners can then cost effectively identify areas of peatland degradation and take restorative action to protect the peatland. This will have significant environmental impacts on CO2 emissions, as well as improving water quality and biodiversity by increasing habitat stability for wildlife.
Andy Howard, CSX CEO, said: “Being able to secure the KTP financial support to appoint Radia enables us to demonstrate how further collaborations along the River Tees can put the region at the forefront of combatting the climate emergency.
“We have around us a critical carbon store and potential sink in peatlands. Working with Teesside University we will create the link utilising modern technology and artificial intelligence to enable the effective protection and restoration of these vital habitats.”
Dr Occhipinti added: “Delivering research which responds directly to the climate emergency is central to Teesside University’s research strategy and so we are delighted to be working alongside CSX on this highly innovative project.
“Peatlands are a key feature of this region’s landscape, and this project will be highly impactful in helping preserve them for future generations to enjoy, while utilising their carbon storage potential in the fight against global climate change.”
The 30-month programme is part-funded by the Government’s Innovate UK. KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a recent graduate to deliver a strategic innovation project to drive business and growth and innovation.
Partnership's AI project to monitor health of peatlands
The Yorkshire Post, Print and Web, 04/11/2023 TEESSIDE University has embarked on an innovative research collaboration with a North Yorkshire business to utilise cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology to monitor the degradation of peatland.
AI to be used in fight against peatland degradation
Darlington and Stockton Times, Print, 03/11/2023 North East Academics have joined forces with a Northallerton-based business to monitor the degredation of peatland using AI technology.
Northallerton business works with Teesside University to tackle peatland degradation
Hambleton Today, Web, 27/10/2023 The project will support the fight against the climate emergency by enabling peatland owners to scale peatland restoration.
Partnership to develop AI to help peatlands
TheBusinessDesk.com, Web, 27/10/2023 Teesside University has embarked on an innovative research collaboration with a North Yorkshire business to use AI technology to monitor the degradation of peatland.