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INSIGHTS / INTERVIEWS

CO2 Revolution: One man's quest to reforest the world

Spain · Oct 17, 2018· By Gareth Gardiner Jones

©CompassList

Juan Carlos Sesma is not just a man on a mission – he wants to change the world via his reforestation startup, CO2 Revolution, combining drones, intelligent seeds and big data. Sesma discusses his revolutionary yet scalable plans with CompassList at the recent Madrid South Summit  

Many people want to do their bit for the environment, but the founder of CO2 Revolution is using his own hard-earned cash to create a hi-tech method of re-planting entire forests in a matter of, literally, just hours. Juan Carlos Sesma urges all stakeholders to act by funding large-scale reforestation projects before it is too late, when the damage from deforestation and wildfires becomes irreversible.

CO2 Revolution uses data-driven drones to plant thousands of hectares of barren land with "intelligent" seeds. Named the Iseed, it is the brainchild and patented product of 35-year-old Sesma, who spent three years developing and testing the drone seed-planting system. The Iseed consists of self-sustaining pre-germinated seeds kept in protective casing or capsule. The Iseed concept and drone-planting process can be adapted to suit any type of degraded terrain and surface area.

Big data is collected and analyzed to plot the best combination of indigenous plant species for the soil conditions of targeted reforestation areas. The customized Iseeds are then planted or launched by drones. The drones will also be used to manage the creation of the new ecosystem until the seedlings have passed the crucial survival stage for each type of the species.

The CO2 Revolution system has already been proven successful in the replanting of a 1,200-hectare area of burnt forest in the Spanish province of Guadalajara that had remained devastated since 2012. In a matter of five hours, 100,000 new trees were planted at a fraction of the cost of manual methods. The average cost of the vast reforestation system can be as low as US$100 per hectare, compared with traditional manual planting methods costing around US$5,000 per hectare for common species.

CO2 Revolution is now negotiating major funding to expand in Europe next year. The company is already profitable and eyeing a revenue of US$1 billion within three years. Navarre-based Sesma, who is also company CEO, believes the Iseed system will be adopted in other parts of the world in the near future, as "a game changer" in the global fight against climate change.

Q: Your business proposal is, as its name suggests, truly revolutionary. How do you believe such an ambitious project is possible?

A: The idea arose from my own personal conviction that we can, and should, change the world. When I was working for an American company in Colombia and Panama, I had always focused on business process management in large companies, striving to save time and expenditure to produce better results.

Edited by Suzanne Soh

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