Tackling beef and dairy farming’s methane problem
The enormity of the climate crisis and our limited time to address it demand deep tech innovations that can scale rapidly. That’s why we’re thrilled to see DCVC- and DCVC Bio-backed CH4 Global announce the biggest deal in history to mitigate enteric emission of methane from cattle using a seaweed-based feed supplement.
CH4 makes its supplement from red seaweed — asparagopsis — that prevents methane gas from being formed in the bellies of ruminants. While other methane-abatement startups are still focused on early R&D, CH4, given its just-signed agreement with South Korean multinational conglomerate Lotte, will potentially reach millions of cattle beginning in 2025.
Working together, CH4 and Lotte could eliminate the equivalent of between 7 and 10 million tons of CO2 emissions each year. That is equal to taking about 2.5 million cars off the road — and it may be only the beginning. CH4 has unmatched capability to expand globally. With an executive team that brings deep experience from Procter & Gamble and other large multinationals, it understands how to rapidly commercialize and distribute new products worldwide. The company has developed manufacturing infrastructure poised for efficient mass production.
The company also benefits from the superb leadership of its Co-Founder and CEO, Steve Meller, and of its Board of Directors. As part of its recently announced $29 million in Series B financing, the company shared that Cleveland Avenue—the venture capital firm launched by former McDonald’s Corporation President and CEO Don Thompson—would join the CH4 Board. The involvement of Thompson’s firm is a huge vote of confidence in CH4’s technology from a global beef industry leader, and brings crucial agri-food supply-chain experience to the company’s leadership.
A vital opportunity for the planet
Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require major reductions in methane emissions this decade. Unlike carbon dioxide, which stays in the atmosphere for centuries, methane lasts only about a decade before breaking down. That means reducing methane now has a disproportionately bigger reduction in heat-trapping effects, buying time for the global economy to decarbonize. But we have only a short time to act before warming surpasses dangerous thresholds.
Methane traps heat over 80 times more effectively than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, and is responsible for 30% of global temperatures’ rise since the industrial revolution. Given its outsized influence, its remediation has attracted surprisingly few investment dollars because of the perceived lack of scalable global solutions.
Enter CH4 Global, whose founding responds to the fact that the biggest source of methane emissions from human activity is farming: ruminants like cows and sheep produce copious amounts of methane from their digestive processes — accounting for around 30 percent of human-caused methane emissions.
With the most commercially viable cattle methane solution on the market and a clear path to achieve global scale, CH4 Global is answering the climate call for rapid emissions reductions. Its supplement is ready to deploy in time to curb methane within this critical decade.
Zachary Bogue is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of DCVC. Dr. John Hamer is Managing Partner of DCVC Bio.