In New Zealand, Scoop Business reports that CH4 Aotearoa, part of CH4 Global, has announced a significant scaling up of its R&D operations, the opening of an Auckland office, and the expansion of its team with 6 new hires.
The news comes as the company announces an additional US$500,000 investment by Sir Stephen Tindall, founder of the Warehouse Group. The New Zealand investment forms part of the recent successful Series A US$13 million investment round, led by DCVC and DCVC Bio.
The investment by Sir Stephen Tindall is a major milestone for the company and underlines the potential of CH4 to play a significant role in delivering the solutions to New Zealand’s burgeoning methane emissions challenge.
CH4 is a pioneer in utilizing red seaweed (Asparagopsis) to drastically reduce methane emissions from ruminant animals such as cows, cattle and sheep. When added to feedstock, CH4’s Asparagopsis supplement reduces ruminant methane emissions by up to 90%. Ruminants are the largest single source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the world. In New Zealand, agricultural methane emissions are by far the biggest factor driving the country’s carbon footprint — over five times higher than transport.
“I am backing businesses that I hope will make a major impact on climate change, specifically on achieving a net-zero position by 2050,” said Sir Stephen. “In New Zealand that goal can only realistically be achieved by addressing agricultural methane emissions.”
CH4 Aotearoa is at the forefront of addressing this challenge. By the end of Q1 2022, at least six Asparagopsis pilot farms will be in place in four coastal locations around New Zealand. These pilot sites will build on the company’s established seaweed trial farm in Big Glory Bay, Rakiura Stewart Island — the biggest of its kind in New Zealand. The company will also complete the build of a national seaweed hatchery and nursery and a world leading Asparagopsis R&D Center to maximize product quality and yields ahead of full commercialization as early as 2023.
In line with the acceleration of its NZ operations, six new personnel have joined the company to help drive the expansion. The company is staffing up both in technical roles based at its Northland Marine Research Centre site, and commercial roles based at its new Auckland HQ. The roles include an Aquaculture Manager and a Strategic Program Manager in the Auckland Office, and two Aquaculture Research Scientists and two Aquaculture Systems Operators at its Northland site.
“We are now at an advanced stage of R&D to prove that the cultivation of Asparagopsis at scale in New Zealand is possible,” said CH4 Aotearoa General Manager, Nigel Little. “The opening of our new Auckland office, the expansion of our team and our R&D infrastructure will enable us to continue scaling our operation and maintaining momentum towards commercialization.”
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