Swedish government advised to feed cows methane-reducing additives to meet climate targets
A new report from Sweden’s Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) highlights Volta Greentech’s innovative seaweed-based solution as a promising avenue for significant methane reduction. The report proposes urgent governmental support to incentivize the uptake of such feed additives.
Methane emissions from agriculture have become a real concern for Sweden. Since 2005, the EU has only managed 2% reduction in agricultural emissions, which isn’t doing any favors for our warming planet. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is a major player in the global temperature rise, accounting for a significant chunk of the 1.1-degree increase we’ve seen, as reported by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP). The challenge is that most of this methane comes from the digestion of feed in cows and other ruminants. It’s a big issue, and we’ve got to tackle it.
But here’s the silver lining: Naturvårdsverket, Sweden’s Environmental Protection Agency, just released a game-changing report. They’ve found a glimmer of hope in the fight against methane emissions, and it involves feed additives for cows.
Naturvårdsverket’s report highlights that methane-reducing feed additives are one of the few fixes we have to cut emissions from animal digestion. These account for approximately 70% of Sweden’s methane emissions. The report prioritizes two additives: 3- NOP and seaweed. Naturvårdsverket are excited about the rapid advancements in this field, describing these additives as a key focus area of the highest strategic interest for the Swedish government. And likely needed, if they are to reach climate targets in agriculture.
The seaweed mentioned is the red macroalgae, Asparagopsis. In 2015, a farmer in America noticed his cows were more productive when munching small amounts of this seaweed. This prompted research which showed the reason for this productivity increase was less methane burped out. Since then, this seaweed has jumped from an interesting research topic to a real-world solution. Volta has learnt to mass produce Asparagopsis at our unique seaweed factory in Lysekil and already implemented the product successfully on several commercial farms. All the trials showed methane reduction between 70 and 90% per day of feeding. Methane-reduced beef, from cows munching on seaweed, are already stocked on supermarket shelves and sizzling in restaurants, giving consumers a dining option with a lower climate footprint. But we’re not becoming complacent. There’s a whole lot more work ahead of us, and we’re committed to the cause.
So, what’s next? Scaling up seaweed production is key. We’re securing funding for Factory 02, a greenhouse facility that’ll churn out these sustainable feed additives on a grand scale. We have received strong support from forward-thinking food retailers throughout Sweden and Europe. This seaweed will play a pivotal role in substantially reducing methane emissions from their livestock in the upcoming years.
Such industry cooperation is vital, but it’s government policies that’ll really get things rolling. We’re pushing for additional incentives to drive further development and the widespread use of methane-reducing additives. One effective path is through governmental support for farmers. Volta Greentech proposes compensating farmers based on their level of methane reduction achieved. It’s a win-win, encouraging the adoption of these additives to reach climate targets while maintaining the profitability of Swedish farms. These financial incentives have existed in the energy sector for years — and proved highly successful in transitioning the industry.
‘’We were happy with the proposal for financial compensation for farmers to invest in methane-reducing feed additives in the report and we will support the government to turn this proposal into reality,’’ said Cora Taylor, Business Developer at Volta Greentech.
In a nutshell, we’re at a crossroads in the fight against methane emissions from agriculture. Naturvårdsverket’s report shines a light on a promising solution, and Volta Greentech is stepping up to the plate. With the backing of the government, the industry, and climate-conscious consumers, we can make a big dent in curbing methane emissions, protecting our environment, and paving the way for a sustainable future.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and get back to work!
Read the full report from Naturvårdsverket here.
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About Volta Greentech
Volta Greentech is a Swedish biotechnology company with 13 employees founded in 2019. The vision of the company is to eliminate methane emissions from cows by 2050. Volta has developed a methane-reducing feed additive for cows that reduces their methane emissions by 70 to 90% per day of feeding. Successful demonstrations have been done on several commercial farms in Sweden. The product is seaweed-derived and the company is currently upscaling large-scale seaweed cultivation in Sweden in greenhouse cultivation to supply Sweden and export internationally.
Find out more and read our climate reports at: www.voltagreentech.com