June 28, 2022

CO2 Emissions: The True Cost of Fertilizer in Vertical Farming

The effects of carbon emissions and benefits of nutrient testing for optimized fertilizer use Carbon dioxide emissions across the agriculture industry are growing at an alarming rate. The fertilizer production chain alone accounts for 1,250 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, more than the entire commercial aviation industry. As we strive to impact climate change through controlled environment agriculture (CEA), nutrient testing is an important opportunity to reduce emissions without sacrificing yield.

Fertilizer and Climate Change

Ammonia-based fertilizer is nothing new. With the invention of the Haber-Bosch process over a century ago, this fertilizer revolutionized agriculture by doubling the number of people a single acre of land could feed. However, ammonia has disastrous effects on climate.

Significant energy, typically from fossil fuels like coal and methane gas, is needed to produce fertilizer in the quantities needed for farming. These emissions contribute heavily to greenhouse gases that trap heat inside our atmosphere and increase temperatures, resulting in cataclysmic changes to our climate. After it’s manufactured and applied to crops, fertilizer emits staggering amounts of nitrous oxide (N2O) - more than 195 million metric tons every year in the U.S. alone. Crops absorb less than half of this amount, leaving the other half to either runs off into and pollute waterways or break down by microbes and release into the atmosphere.

The Future of Fertilizer

Fertilizer, the food we feed our crops, has a significant impact. Too little, as is the case in many developing countries where cost is a barrier, results in decreased yield. Too much and we face the challenge of runoff and excess carbon emissions. This nutrient imbalance is often an issue of testing—lab turnaround time can mean a 7-15 day wait, risking a loss of yield potential or the cost of over-fertilization.

With the rise of renewable energy, there is strong potential to reduce manufacturing emissions in the production of fertilizer. This will cut down on emissions related to fertilizer while also making it more accessible in developing countries.

Vertical farms and CEAs are working to create a more sustainable future for food. But is there more we can do?

To reduce nitrous oxide emissions, precision farming can optimize the use of fertilizer without sacrificing yield. Revolutionary companies like Joyn Bio, Pivot Bio, SoundBio Lab, and Novozymes are working to create and scale microbial fertilizers that use atmospheric nitrogen to sustain crops. Scientists are also exploring slow-release fertilizers, altering the times during the season fertilizer is applied, as well as using new technology for better nutrient management. However, reaching this goal of optimization will also require cooperation from public administration. Many regions provide financial incentives to farmers for applying more fertilizer than they need.

But whether the source is natural gas or biological, the use of fertilizer on farms isn’t going anywhere. It’s an accessible, cost-effective way for growers to increase yield. However, the air and water pollution linked to fertilizer is too far-reaching to ignore. It’s within our power to optimize the use of fertilizer to reduce our footprint. With the help of farmers, policymakers, and innovative technologies, we can create a more sustainable future. To learn more about how precise nutrient dosing can improve yield while cutting down on fertilizer use, learn more about Nordetect’s ‘lab-on-a-chip’ nutrient testing.

January 4, 2022

2021 in Review: Updates to User Experience, Nutrient Management Platform, and More

2022 is already shaping up to be a busy year. But before we dive headfirst into the action that this new year brings, we want to look back at how much has changed in 2021.

We have a lot to celebrate, but what stands out to us the most is our Early Access customers. We spent the year building Nordetect alongside growers, agronomists, product managers, and crop researchers, and it thrill us to be a partner in their growth and progress.

Here are some of our biggest wins from 2021:

  • Raised $1.5M in a Seed Round from Luminate, SOSV, Rockstart, and PreSeed Ventures
  • Built an incredibly talented team of 10 members from over six countries to accelerate product development and adoption
  • Launched an exclusive Early Access Program to onboard clients across US and Europe in the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry
  • Secured grant funding of over $500K from InnovationFundDenmark and Eureka Foundation.
  • Won the $250K prize at Grow-NY and won Bayer Crop Science’s Annual startup call
  • Expanded the Nordetect nutrient panel (NPK, Ca, Mg) to test and analyze for more chemistries reliably and simultaneously

2021’s success resulted from the courage and conviction of our team. From developing efficient processes for working remotely to solving some of the hardest multi-dimensional problems, we are confident in what the next chapter holds.

Seed Financing

We started the year with a $1.5 million seed round from Luminate, SOSV, Rockstart, and PreSeed Ventures to give vertical farms a better way to monitor and manage nutrients. Various grants also brought in $500K in non-dilutive funding to support product development.

Building Our A-Team

Even before we started Nordetect, we knew what we wanted our core tech team to look like:

  1. Multi-Dimensional Problem Solvers: agile at iterating on client/market learnings using different perspectives
  2. Mission Driven: have experience working with farms and sustainability to bring first-hand knowledge

Our team's expertise covers plant science, microfluidics, assay development, deep learning, and hardware development.

Nordetect Early Access Program

With fresh capital and a dedicated team, we launched our first Early Access Program, an exclusive waitlist program that helps next-generation data farmers and consultants partner with us.

From enhancing their yields, to rapidly iterating nutrient recipes, to lowering their nutrient waste, our clients never stop amazing us with the use cases of our product.

Now, our core focus is rolling out production units to our first Early Access customers while opening up the program to new customers.

Aligning With The Ecosystem - Bayer Crop Science & Grow-NY

Securing multiple partnerships and grants at some of the most prestigious competitions in the industry helped us nurture relationships to power product development and adoption. Some notable ones include:

Seamless Customer Experiences – From AgroChip to Cloud to Crops

The pilot program brought deep, rich feedback that helped us polish our product experience to a degree that has our customers saying “Damn, that’s fast”!

Some of the key features incorporated in the 2022 Early Access batch include:

  • Expanded Nutrient Panel: The AgroChip, a proprietary microfluidic device, tests a total of five chemistries including NPK, Calcium, and Magnesium, with Sulphur and other micronutrients in the pipeline. Simply insert the AgroChip in the Analyzer, add the sample to the AgroChip, click analyze, and view your results in minutes! Want to request a nutrient for your farm? Drop us a line.
  • Nordetect End-to-End Nutrient Management Platform: Users can design custom views to visualize nutrient levels anytime, across every tray or aisle. You can also store data on your farm CRM or trigger the next fertigation cycle. Nordetect ensures efficient nutrient use as you improve yields and crop quality.

2022 and Ahead

We will be doubling down on solving problems for building-based vertical farms, hydroponics, aquaponics, shipping containers, and closed and semi-closed greenhouses. Our nutrient panel will be best suited for cannabis, berries, tomatoes, and leafy green growers. If this sounds like you, get on our waitlist! We would love to talk to you about your needs and challenges and learn what you would like to see us build.

We would like to thank each of you for being a part of this journey and hope we can meet in person soon! Be the first to know what’s happening at Nordetect by subscribing to our updates! You’ll hear about the benefits of real-time nutrient analysis, bio-fertilizers, opportunities to grow your career in Agtech, and much more!


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Ole Maaløes Vej 3,
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North America

c / o NextCorps
260 E Main St #6000
Rochester, NY 14604
United States


Nordetect ApS
Ole Maaløes Vej 3,
2200 Copenhagen N

Stay updated on Nordetect product news.