This week’s climate story brings us all the way to the island Tasmania in Australia. Imagine standing next to a beautiful bay overlooking the Tasman Sea, this is where the company Sea Forest is headquartered.
Have you heard that cows release the potent greenhouse gas methane? Have you also heard that mixing a little bit of seaweed in their diet reduces their emissions greatly? Research teams all over the world are racing to find out more: What type of seaweed works best? How much is needed? How can it be grown and mixed into feed sustainably?
Asparagopsis is an edible red seaweed, native to Australian waters. Sea Forest is the first company to produce and scale Asparagopsis at a commercial scale. They are developing innovative ways to cultivate the seaweed on land and in the ocean. This is how it works:
On the left side you can see how a boat farms seaweed in the ocean. Alternatively it can be grown in tanks on land. After it is harvested, the seaweed needs to dry. Sea Forest then produces a feed supplement for cattle.
No, the milk and meat don’t taste like seaweed. And amazingly, the cows are more productive with this supplement. They need less feed because they are saving energy by not producing methane. A 2020 study found that methane emissions from cattle can be reduced by up to 98%:
Animals whose diets contain 0.2% Sea Forest’s supplement will have methane reductions up to 98%.
That is a very impressive reduction of methane! There are still a lot of open questions and scientists say there is not enough seaweed for all the cattle in the world. What I like most about Sea Forest is that they are acting now. We need climate solutions now and Sea Forest is one of the teams delivering. They are planning to sell the first supplements later this year.
As with so many other amazing teams all over the world, Sea Forest is producing climate solutions right now. Their rapid and innovative approach is inspiring and I hope they succeed!
Grab your hat and mittens, it’s going to be cold outside. Imagine going for a walk on a sunny winter day while your lungs fill with cold and crispy air. This week’s climate story brings us up north, to Canada.
We have been introducing many amazing organizations from around the world that develop solutions towards a low carbon future. Today we are highlighting the Montreal based startup GHGSat.
Countries, cities and organizations have been setting targets for a low carbon future. In order to meet these targets, we need to understand where and what type of emissions occur. Today we measure emissions through reporting, earth based sensors, and satellite based sensors. Back to our story of GHGSat in Montreal. While other satellites measure carbon dioxide emissions GHGSat develops satellites to detect methane emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas:
Over the course of a century, methane has 34 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide.
Some of the biggest sources of methane emissions are coal mining, gas and oil extraction, landfills, and livestock. To get to a low carbon future we need to avoid methane emissions. Where we can’t avoid them we need to capture them. To better understand operational emissions and accidental leaks GHGSat has developed high resolution mapping of methane emissions. This is how it works:
GHGSat detects and measures emissions from industrial sites across the globe. While the satellite orbits the earth spectrometers measure gas concentrations and provide high resolution heat maps of human caused emissions.
Their progress since launching their first satellite in 2016 has been amazing. The high resolution images are getting more and more detailed. Where they detected methane emissions from a coal mine before, they can now map emissions to individual vents.
What I like most is GHGSat’s bold vision to become the global reference for remote sensing of greenhouse gas emissions from any source in the world.
It is inspiring to see how startups all over the world tackle climate change. From drone startups to cultivating seaweed. GHGSat is another example of an amazingly dedicated group of people addressing climate change.