It turns out that burping can be a big deal. Billionaire Bill Gates has announced that he will invest in Rumin8, an Australian startup that develops seaweed-based feed to reduce methane emissions produced by cows. through their burps and farts to a lesser extent.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Although shorter-lived than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there is 84 teams Potential for more global warming in 20 years. Approximately One third The majority of global methane emissions come from livestock, with most coming from cattle and dairy cows.
Microbes in cows’ stomachs produce methane as the animals digest food, but adding seaweed to their feed has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of the planet-warming gas. A 2021 study found that feeding small amounts of seaweed to cows for several months reduced their methane emissions. More than 80%.
Rumin8 produces a feed additive from a bioactive compound found in red seaweed (Asparagopsis). Laboratory tests have shown the additive can reduce methane emissions by up to 95%, the company said.
Instead of growing seaweed, the company grows the ingredient in a lab, which means costs can be kept relatively low. The additive is included in cow feed and the company plans to produce it in capsule form as well.
Spokesperson for Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund Led a $12 million investment round, told CNN: “Although cows are important [greenhouse gas] According to the source, livestock agriculture remains one of the cheapest sources of protein globally, which means that technologies that can reduce emissions from existing livestock supply chains are critical today and in the future.
Rumin8 said it has additional investments from two climate funds and aims to have small quantities of food commercially available by the end of the year.
One criticism of solutions like methane-reducing feed additives is that they can distract from addressing the root causes of livestock’s climate problem, including the vast amounts of land needed to raise animals and grow crops for their feed.
Rumin8 CEO David Messina said cows remain an important source of protein for billions of people. “Our solution is global and will provide both developed and developing countries with a methane-reducing product that will have a major impact on global emissions in agriculture,” he told CNN via email.
Some countries are exploring legislation to reduce methane emissions from livestock. The New Zealand government announced in October plans to collect taxes from farmers for their animals to burp to encourage them to reduce emissions.
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