Berlin SpaceTech LiveEO receives €800k from ESA
A strong cup of coffee, a hearty burger, or a soy-based veggie patty - many products in our daily lives contribute to deforestation and species loss. Between 1990 and 2020 alone, an area of forest larger than the European Union was destroyed worldwide. Around ten percent of this is due to the consumption of agricultural products within Europe. LiveEO could now help companies implement a new EU law against deforestation.
With a new law to fight global deforestation, the EU wants to ensure that forests have not been cut down or damaged for products sold in the Union. New rules apply to wood, charcoal, coffee, cocoa, rubber, palm oil, cattle, soy and printed products. The most important component is a so-called due diligence declaration, which must be submitted by suppliers. In this declaration, they confirm that the products do not originate from areas that have been deforested after December 31, 2020. Likewise, that the products have not led to the degradation of forests and, in particular, irreplaceable primary forests. The new legislation applies to cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soy and some palm oil derivatives, wood, charcoal, printed products and rubber. Also affected are products that contain or are fed on these raw materials, as well as products such as leather, chocolate or furniture made from them.
EU regulation explicitly mentions earth observation to combat deforestation
A look at the EU regulation shows that space-based applications for enforcing climate and species protection measures are certainly relevant. Among other things, data collected by the European satellite constellations Galileo and Copernicus are to be used for monitoring. However, evaluating the areas to be monitored is far from a trivial task. And in view of the four billion hectares of forest worldwide, it would simply be too much for people to detect changes in a timely manner.
The Berlin-based NewSpace company LiveEO specializes in evaluating satellite data using artificial intelligence. The focus is on vegetation management, which is used by Deutsche Bahn, for example. This makes it possible for the first time to monitor the entire 33,000-plus kilometers of track for vegetation growing into the track profile. The energy supplier E.DIS also relies on LiveEO's expertise and has commissioned the Berlin-based company to monitor the vegetation of its medium-voltage network.
Grant within the framework of ESA Space Solutions
In order to be able to expand the service to new markets, the team around the two founders Daniel Seidel and Sven Przywarra has received 800,000 euros from the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the project “RaumZeit – A generalised EO tech stack for asset monitoring across industries”. This will be used to further develop the service, particularly for the forestry industry and insurers. SpaceTime is a demonstration project and is being carried out as part of the ESA Business Applications program. This program provides financial support and access to the ESA network for companies developing innovative ideas based on the use of satellite applications and space technology. To date, ESA Space Solutions has supported more than 1,200 companies with a total of around €250 million.