Humans have "plant blindness." Our biases prevent us from perceiving them as we do animals. This plant-human disconnect means that projects to plant trees to capture carbon in the face of the climate crisis are not sustainable if reforestation is not sustained over time.
Colombian entrepreneurship student Daniel Salinas discovered the lack of infrastructure in the fight for decarbonization with a tree-planting start-up. The young man recalls, "Every time we went to the field, we had problems." To break this disconnect between people and trees, Salinas has created a plant-computer interface to track vegetation with his start-up Superplants. With this contribution, Salinas has made it to MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2022 in Spanish.
With nanotechnology and software, the creator of Superplants seeks to make plant monitoring easier. Thanks to a carbon nanotube, his start-up creates a conduit of electricity inside the plant, measures those frequencies, and reports its status. Salinas' innovation allows real-time monitoring at a level of detail such as knowing whether a plant is moving, being cut, or touched. And it does so more cheaply than with satellites and sensors.
The lack of accurate information hinders the deployment of the carbon offset industry. With Superplants, the innovator makes it easier for companies to bet on decarbonization projects by assuring them of the return on their investment with project monitoring through technologies, such as blockchain. He also does so with another product that brings together companies seeking carbon neutrality with decarbonization projects that need capital to develop. The young man states, "The future is going to be a lot greener."
SuperPlants is still a seed that is germinating. Salinas is looking for Latin American companies to invest in decarbonization and biotechnology projects so that they can scale and "create a greener world while plants are the protagonists of our daily lives." The entrepreneur's goal is to use technology to fight climate change.