" The food production system is broken and requires a radical whole system approach to fix it. "

Our Approach

The Lapwing Estate has developed a new model for “Rethinking peatlands”, which both sequesters and abates significant quantities of carbon, and also produces food with measurable positive environmental and social impact

Reverse Coal is a radical and transformative whole systems approach that transitions from traditional organic farming on degraded lowland peat, towards climate resilient, controlled environment agriculture (CEA) with a broad array of interlinked societal, environmental and economic benefits

The Lapwing Estate

The Lapwing Estate has been historically drained for agricultural activities. We are proposing to stop draining the land which will raise the water table back up (rewetting not flooding).

This will return the Estate to the landscape it was over 400 years ago. There are positive net gains to be had in terms of biodiversity and water/flood-plain management


Carbon Capture & Abatement

The premise of Reverse Coal is to utilise photosynthesis to remove CO2 from the atmosphere via production of short rotation coppice willow (SRCW) on rewetted peatland.

This simultaneously clean the water of chemicals and abate landscape soil emissions from agriculturally drained lowland peat – which accounts for 3% of total UK GHG emission, and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere through the SRCW

Carbon Processing

Biomass is harvested and chipped directly from the field. The wood chip is then actively dried to achieve a low moisture content.
Once at optimal condition the woodchip is then fed into a high temperature pyrolysis plant which breaks down the biomass through thermal decomposition (Pyrolysis is the heating of material without oxygen)

The three products generated are:

Biochar + Electricity + Heat

Higher Temperature allows a more thorough chemical breakdown of the feed reducing tars and improving yield and emissions.

Find out more about how we ensure the carbon we store in the biochar doesn’t get back into the atmosphere.

Controlled Environment Agriculture

The high grade heat and power from the pyrolysis plant will be used to power controlled environment agriculture for more sustainable food production. This tackles the common criticism from most biomass projects which is the displacement of food production for bioenergy.

By continuing to produce food, this land use change does not result in offshoring food production and increasing GHG emissions. Instead we can improve food security and substitute commodity grain and arable crops that would have been grown on the land lost to biomass crops, for high health fruit and vegetables.

In addition, the power system used to produce CEA food’s will be close to net zero and substituting for foods typically imported from global sources and grown under glass using fossil fuel heating systems

We're on a mission to scale

To create a real impact and cut greenhouse gas emissions, this approach needs to be at scale. We are targeting 2030 to create a 1 megatonne contribution to Net Zero

Our Vision

Here at The Lapwing Estate, we have continuously evolved and innovated in response to changing market and social trends, and now we have a new vision as we work to reinvent fresh produce for a Net Zero world

Since showcasing our approach to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, the project has gained traction and we have begun testing the model through 3 projects:

  • UKRI funded £5.5m project led by Prof Chris Evans MBE [peatland GGR]
  • BEIS funded £3m GGR pilot [carbon processing and storage]
  • EA NEIRF £0.1m [producing an investment ready model]

UKRI - Funded Peatland GGR Demonstrator

Peatlands store more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem, both in the UK and globally. As a result of human disturbance they are rapidly losing this carbon to the atmosphere, contributing significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

UKRI are currently establishing trial sites for accelerated peatland restoration at Lapwing.
This is a flux tower located on the Lapwing Estate monitoring GHG emissions from the land as part of this £5.5m project.

DESNZ - Funded Reverse Coal

Lapwing Energy (The Lapwing Estate’s renewable energy subsidiary) are undertaking Phase 2 of DESNZ’s Direct Air Capture and other Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies competition.

Our ‘Reverse Coal’ project is exploring the core ‘carbon processing’ and ‘carbon storage’ elements of the whole system.
Lapwing Energy completed Phase 1 of the GGR competition in December 2021 assessing the feasbility of the project and in May 2022 were selected for Phase 2. This phase is live and is focused on producing a demonstrator which showcases Lapwing’s novel carbon capture and storage solution.

NEIRF - Funded Rethinking Farmed Peatlands

The Lapwing Group is carrying out a £100k project funded by the Natural England Investment Readiness Fund, ‘Rethinking Farmed Peatlands’. The project is aiming to identify a number of wider benefits from this proposed land use change.