The Repsol Foundation and Hispasat develop satellite control technologies for reforestation and CO₂ offsetting

Press Release 12/01/2022 11:10
  • Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau and Hispasat President Jordi Hereu, today signed a strategic parnership to develop new, cutting-edge technological applications for the monitoring and control of reforestations and forest management, which will provide a means of offsetting CO2 emissions.  
  • Antonio Brufau explained that its large-scale reforestation project, Motor Verde (Green Engine), carried out by the Repsol Foundation in conjunction with the Sylvestris Group, needed a top-tier technological partner to fully exploit the project's potential in forest areas as well as in natural carbon sinks. 
  • Spain's forested areas possess enormous potential for inclusive, green, economic development and protection of biodiversity. This agreement turns the Green Engine project into a benchmark in the application of innovation and technology to forest engineering for the absorption of CO₂.  
  • Satellite tracking, monitoring, and control of forests and their growth requires cutting-edge technology to ensure the carbon sequestration process remains as precise, rigorous, and science-based as possible, according to Repsol's chairman. 
  • With the technology available and through this agreement with Hispasat, "we will be able to incorporate the latest technology into the Green Engine project in terms of big data and artificial intelligence, IoT (the internet of things), and blockchain," the chairman of the Repsol Foundation said. 
  • Hispasat President Jordi Hereu described satellites as the ideal tool to ensure efficient and universal connectivity: one which guarantees the precise tracking and control of these new forests. "We are very proud of this chance to participate alongside the Repsol Foundation and the Sylvestris Group in an initiative of such importance for the sustainable development of our country as is the Green Engine project: a project that will allow us to combine innovative satellite applications that can be deployed anywhere within the coverage of our footprint," Hereu said. 

The Repsol Foundation and Hispasat are joining forces in a strategic partnership to develop cutting-edge technologies applied to the reforestation sector for emissions offsetting. These technological solutions will be applied to the Repsol Foundation's Green Engine project, which will become a benchmark in the application of innovation and technology to forest engineering for the absorption of CO₂.                                                                    

The agreement was signed at Repsol Campus between Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau, Hispasat President Jordi Hereu, and Sylvestris Group President Enrique Enciso. The Sylvestris Group is an investee company of the Repsol Foundation. 

This strategic agreement paves the way for joint development of the latest satellite technologies to track forest growth and precisely certify the amount of carbon absorbed by trees over the course of various years, adding increased rigor to the certification of emission offsets.  

The latest satellite information technologies will be used to produce high-resolution images and provide connectivity to the remote areas where the trees are to be planted.  

Other technologies to be applied include the internet of things (IoT) with the installation of high-tech sensors on the ground, as well as big data, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for the processing and analytics of the data obtained.  

This commitment also aims to stimulate the growth of a voluntary carbon market by applying methods to improve the efficiency of emissions offset projects through large-scale reforestation.  

It also seeks to speed up the implementation of the Green Engine project by exploring the possibility of expanding the project to new markets and applying new forms of growth within Spain. 

Digitalization is a decisive factor in the Green Engine project as it is indispensable to carrying out sustainable large-scale reforestation projects, in addition to the use of these new forests in offsetting CO₂ emissions. 

This agreement is a marked commitment to consolidating large-scale reforestation as a natural climate solution and a key means of action to fight climate change and follow through on the Paris Agreement

Green Engine 

In 2021, the Repsol Foundation and its investee company Sylvestris launched the Green Engine project with the aim of making reforestation an important tool in offsetting emissions, as part of the energy transition already underway. As Spain's largest reforestation project for the purpose of offsetting emissions, it plans to replant 70,000 hectares over the next five to seven years, thus capturing 16 million tonnes of CO2

The Green Engine project aims to have a triple impact: economic, social, and environmental. In addition to its evident environmental benefits, it is designed to have a transformative effect on society and the economy. The project is creating inclusive local jobs in the rural parts of Spain where planting takes place, and special attention is given to hiring people from vulnerable groups. At the same time, the project galvanizes rural economies through specialized training and the creation of new businesses related to the forest industry, while attracting further economic activity to generate increased wealth in the surrounding area.  

The project is based on the tenets of public–private sector collaboration and is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, and the European Green Deal, in addition to fitting the commitments reached at the recent climate change conference in Glasgow. The Green Engine project is already underway in the southwestern region of Extremadura and the northern region of Asturias, where is has received support from local governments and business communities. It is expected to expand to other parts of Spain. 

The Green Engine project is an investment in the future that will vitalize not just business and job creation, but also innovation and research applied to the forest industry — all thanks to this important partnership with Hispasat. Beginning at project conception, technology always plays a central role. It is present in the design and development of a forest, the selection of terrain, the materials used, planting techniques, and finally, in monitoring and maintenance. This differential, proprietary methodology developed by the experts at Sylvestris seeks to provide new forests with long-term resilience and ensure the protection of biodiversity.