SmartField - An innovation platform for N2O mitigation in Danish agriculture

Sune  Skeldal

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SmartField - An innovation platform for N2O mitigation in Danish agriculture

Project periode: 2024 - 2029
Funding: Novo Nordisk Foundation

Danish Technological Institut is project leader of SmartField - an ambitious project, which is set to accelerate the validation, scaling, and implementation of nitrous oxide (N2O) mitigation measures for agricultural cropland through establishment of a national infrastructure. The project is a research-based, trans-organisational, mutli-stakeholder effort with partners from both academia, industry, and Danish authorities.


The human perturbation of the nitrogen cycle has led to dramatically increased losses of reactive nitrogen compounds to the environment. In particular, N2O is by far the most prominent nitrogen-containing greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. Agriculture is the main source of anthropogenic N2O emissions, largely due to the use of fertilisers. Minimizing environmental nitrogen losses from agriculture is crucial for achieving the 1.5°C and 2°C climate change targets of the Paris Agreement and for protecting biodiversity, and air and water quality. However, reduction of nitrogen losses from agriculture must be done without compromising crop production or causing pollution swapping. Recognizing the complex task of balancing productivity, economy, and environmental performance, the Danish government is advocating for a green transition in agriculture, in which mitigating N2O emissions is a priority.

The vision of SmartField is to obtain verifiably reduced N2O emissions in the range of 20-30% from agricultural fields by 2030 and beyond, without unduly affecting crop yield or shifting N pollution to other sources.

The mission is to establish an innovative platform at field-scale allowing for testing and validation of solutions aimed at mitigating N2O emissions from agricultural fields, and to provide necessary data modelling tools to scale, design, and target incentives for adoption of knowledge and solutions into the regulatory framework. This will be instrumental for SmartField to reach the necessary impact at farm and national levels.

The overall objective is to establish an internationally unique research and test platform, whereby Denmark can provide a showcase for accurate accounting of N2O emissions, testing, and implementing mitigation measures.


The core activities are to establish:

  • A Field Measurement Infrastructure to provide state-of the art benchmark datasets of N2O fluxes and other nitrogen loss pathways for the most prominent field management practices in Denmark including testing of classic and novel mitigation measures.
  • A Data Assimilation and Modelling Hub with a consolidated framework to provide evidence-based models for N2O emission quantification and to test N2O mitigation measures at a large scale in the frame of scenario studies.  
  • A Science Policy Practice Interface to exchange knowledge and information, and to build a smooth interaction with farm decision making and policy models.

SmartField Workpackages

Figure 1: Workpackages in SmartField

Multistakeholder initiative

SmartField consists of a unique consortium with prestigious partners that makes the ambitious goals achievable. The funded partners are Danish Technological Institute, Land-CRAFT Pioneer Center, Aarhus University, the University of Copenhagen, Colorado State University, and SEGES Innovation. The Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries through the Agricultural Agency will engage as observational non-funded partners enabling knowledge exchange and agile data sharing. A Science Policy Practice Forum will be established to ensure progress in SmartField and enable dialog between partners in SmartField and stakeholders from academia and research organizations, farmers communities, policy makers and authorities, industry, NGOs, think tanks and R&D foundations.   

Want to know more

  • Visit the official webpage:
  • Read the press release from Danish Technological Institute
  • Read the press release from the Novo Nordisk Foundation