UK Government plowing ahead with methane-suppressing feed products for cows
[Stockholm, 1 November 2023]
Last week, the UK government revealed the findings of its recent call for evidence on methane-suppressing feed products. DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, expressed a firm commitment to promoting their use as a cornerstone in addressing cows’ methane emissions and unveiled plans to introduce incentives for these products. The measures are scheduled to come into effect as early as 2025 in England. Volta Greentech expects drastic reductions in agricultural methane emissions as a result.
“We will continue to work closely with industry to develop a mature market and mandate the use of safe and effective methane-suppressing feed products in suitable cattle systems in England as soon as feasible” announced Farming Minister Mark Spencer.
The UK government’s support for methane-suppressing feed products marks a substantial step towards a greener agricultural industry. Agriculture in the UK faces a pressing challenge. It is the source of nearly half of the UK’s methane emissions. Over 80% of these methane emissions stem from feed digestion in ruminants. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 28 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year timeframe, or 84 times greater over a 20-year timeframe. Between 1990 and 2009, the UK saw a reduction in feed-digestion-related emissions, linked to a decline in the ruminant population. Yet, since 2009, agricultural methane emissions have plateaued. There has been an urgent need to find viable solutions to tackle this.
The call for evidence outlined six categories of methane-suppressing feed products for cows. Algaes, such as Asparagopsis, were the most recognized among survey respondents. Several companies are working on scaling up this algae and there is certainly no lack of cows to benefit from their attention. The UK alone has 9.4 million of them, and there are 1 billion globally. Volta Greentech are frontrunners amongst these Asparagopsis companies and the sole European grower, leading efforts in the region.
In Volta Greentech’s journey so far, we have made strides in the right direction. Through the use of our algae-based product Lome™ in commercial trials, we successfully introduced the world’s first methane-reduced beef. In collaboration with our partners, Lome™ branded beef was launched at 23 retail stores and various restaurants in both 2022 and 2023. These initiatives led to substantial methane reductions on the beef farms, ranging from 70% to 90%, in all commercial trials during the feeding periods. These achievements show the potential that methane-suppressing feed products hold for the industry. In a few years, with the support of the UK government, we could be eliminating a huge fraction of the country’s methane emissions — and bringing the UK back in line with climate targets.
Volta Greentech will conduct a pilot in the UK using Lome™ next year. Lome™ achieves an average of 80% methane reduction on beef farms; significantly more than its competitors. The planned pilot will be the first in the country with this impact of methane reduction. It will provide a tangible testing ground for Asparagopsis use in England. We look forward to sharing the results of our upcoming trials with DEFRA, contributing to the evidence base necessary to rapidly scale up this solution. In tandem, Volta Greentech is actively engaged in expanding the production of Asparagopsis to meet the increasing demand from both industry and government.
This is a highly encouraging development for the UK government. It follows on from recent similar statements made by the Swedish government, seemingly indicating a broader European shift in policy focus towards addressing the climate footprint of agriculture by accelerating the implementation of feed additives. We are excited by what these bold statements will mean for our planet and look forward to seeing those bovine methane emissions start to drop.
Read the full DEFRA release 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 is developing methane-reducing feed additives for cows that reduce their methane emissions by 70 to 90% per day of feeding. Successful demonstrations have been done on several commercial farms in Sweden. The product Lome™ is algae-based and the company is currently upscaling large-scale algae cultivation in greenhouses to supply Sweden and export internationally.
Find out more and read our climate reports at: www.voltagreentech.com