Swedish startup Volta Greentech showed that methane emissions burped out by the animals were reduced by an average 81 percent when fed the company’s seaweed-based feed supplement. This is an important milestone for Volta Greentech whose vision is to battle global warming by drastically reducing methane emissions from cattle.
During the pilot study at the farm “Tre Bönder’’ outside Eskilstuna in Sweden, 17 animals were fed the seaweed-based feed supplement as described in the company’s new climate report.
The seaweed comes from Volta Greentech’s land-based pilot factory in Lysekil on the Swedish west coast, designed to be replicated at scale and laying the technical foundation for coming factories. The feed supplement is grown sustainably using renewable energy and waste heat from another nearby factory.
“The 1.5 billion cows on the planet produce five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, twice the amount of the world’s airplanes. We have now shown that our seaweed has the potential to reduce a large part of those emissions. The market potential and the impact we can achieve with this solution is huge,” says Volta Greentech CEO and co-founder Fredrik Åkerman.
The greenhouse gas methane is 28 times more potent than CO₂ at a 100-year time horizon. At COP26, more than 100 countries signed the Global Methane Pledge to reduce 30 percent of methane emissions by 2030. For many countries, reducing emissions from cattle may hold the greatest potential to reach that target, according to the company.
Volta Greentech is building its first large-scale seaweed factory — Volta Factory 02 — with a planned production of 50 tons of the feed supplement per year. This will make it the world’s largest red seaweed factory. Capital will be raised during the year for building the next factory as well as for research and development.
Meanwhile, in the company’s laboratory at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the cultivation recipe for improving the seaweed’s methane reducing abilities is under development, as is the engineering blueprint enabling large scale production.
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