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Climate Tech

The Big Business of Cow Burps

September 14, 2023
x min read

The methane emitted from livestock is becoming a big problem to solve.

With agriculture companies needing to reduce carbon emissions and their environmental footprint, there’s an emergence of startups working on methane reduction for animals.

The big idea:

  • Livestock and cattle are one of the largest emitters of methane gas into the environment, accounting for nearly a third of global methane emissions
  • One of the reasons for this methane is a by product of the natural digestion process for cattle, sheep and goats and happens when they burp
  • This puts farmers and agriculture companies in a difficult spot as they are needing to reduce emissions in the face of many new rules around carbon reduction and getting closer to net zero emissions
  • Multiple startups are working on innovating what livestock actually get fed in order to reduce enteric fermentation, which leads to less methane emitting burps

Who is making moves:

  • CH4 Global recently raised $29M in a Series B round for their flagship product ‘Methane Tamer’ that uses a red seaweed that is capable of reducing animal based methane emission by 90%
  • Mootral, a British-Swiss startup who has developed their own livestock feed to reduce emissions, also announced that they have developed a VERRA approved methodology for creating carbon credits based for farmers based on reducing their methane emissions
  • Australian based Rumin8 attracted notable investment from Bill Gates venture fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures in their $12M Series A to advance their proprietary supplements for reducing livestock methane emissions
  • Y Combinator recently backed new startup Alga Biosciences in a $4M seed round to use algae develop leading edge feed and supplements for cows to reduce methane
  • Volta Greentech, a Swedish based startup, ran a pilot project earlier this year in collaboration with a farm in Sweden that validated their red seaweed based feed supplement reduced methane emissions by 80%

The intrigue:

  • While feed and supplements are one approach to solving animal based methane emissions, it isn’t the only one
  • Zelp, a startup spun out of London’s Royal College of Art, has created a wearable device that can be worn on cows that oxidizes their methane emissions and releases it back into the air as water vapour

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