Many industries are born from a need to solve a serious problem. Things like personal bomb shelters, electronic computers, or the internet itself. Many of these problems were an issue from a certain time period, such as Alan Turing’s first computer used to break the Nazi Enigma code during World War II, or bomb shelters rising in popularity during the height of the Cold War. Those may not be problems for us anymore, but there is one problem that will continue to plague humanity for decades and centuries to come. That problem is, of course, climate change. It has been recognized as a potentially human civilization ending problem. All is not lost though. Humanity often makes its most amazing advances in the face of adversity and this problem is no different. All sorts of new climate change related technologies have emerged to meet the coming demands of our increasingly warming world.
At the core of our fight against climate change is reducing emissions of green house gasses to net zero as fast as humanly possible. Today I came across a very clever, and slightly humorous method invented by an eco-startup that aims to cut down emissions in one big problem area by growing tons and tons of seaweed (the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis to be exact). That problem area? Cow farts. Yes…cow farts contribute to 4% of the world’s methane emissions. Enough to rival an entire country’s emissions. There are over a billion cows alive on the planet at the moment to meet the world’s insane demand for beef and other cow related products. That demand will not disappear overnight as some would like, so the next best thing is to help mitigate the damage while society and other sciences catch up (lab grown meat anyone?).
The Swedish company Volta Greentech has developed a product they call “Volta Seafeed” that is to be used as a supplement mixed into a cow’s regular diet. The suggested dose is 100 grams of the Seafeed daily per cow. Their experiments have shown a reduction in methane emissions from the animals by up to 80%. The supplement naturally suppresses a key enzyme in cow stomachs that creates most of the methane expelled. The product is still being tested to make sure it doesn’t introduce any potentially bad side effects, but the current results are extremely promising. Volta Greentech is going to focus on Sweden’s cattle population first, then hopes to spread its product to other countries with its extremely efficiently and sustainably produced algae seafeed.
Senior Front-end Developer